Australian pace bowler Scott Boland might not be included in the playing XI for the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Bellerive Oval here from January 14 as he reportedly suffered an elbow and rib injury during the drawn fourth Test at the SCG.
The 32-year-old Boland, who emerged the unlikely hero in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, grabbing six second-innings England wickets to earn the hosts an innings and 14-run victory, reportedly “played through pain” in Sydney after falling on his elbow and ribs.
“With the help of painkillers, Boland was able to push through and continue bowling,” The Age reported on Tuesday.
The Victorian pace bowler of Indigenous origin has taken 14 wickets in two Tests at an average of 8.64 apiece.
Boland’s injury has compounded Australia’s bowling worries, as several bowlers have been sidelined over the course of the series, with only skipper Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc a certainty to play the final Test at Hobart.
Cummins missed the Adelaide Test due to COVID-19 protocols, while Josh Hazlewood, after playing the opening Test at The Gabba, has been sidelined with a side strain. Young pacer Jhye Richardson is also unlikely to play in Hobart as he too is dealing with injury issues after the Adelaide Test.
Pacer Michael Neser could be a likely replacement for Boland, if the Victorian is declared unfit. Neser played the Adelaide Test, but was not included in the playing XI for Sydney.