Australia will be forced into at least one change for tonight’s second T20 international against Sri Lanka with speedster Mitchell Starc ruled out due to a bizarre finger mishap.
Starc slit the index finger of his bowling hand on his shoe spike during the opening over of the tourists’ 10-wicket win in the series opener at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The left-armer required on-field treatment after the sixth delivery of the match – which was a leg-side wide – but managed to complete the over and his four-over spell where he collected 3-26.
The 32-year-old was allowed tape on his finger last night as the injury occurred during the match but the same can’t be said for tonight’s second T20 of the series.
“It was a strange one,” player-of-the-match Josh Hazlewood told cricket.com.au.
“Once his left leg came back through, he clipped it on the spike, so he’s got a little cut on his bowling finger.
“He was allowed to strap it tonight being an external blow in this game (but) can’t strap it (Wednesday) night so that might cause a few problems.”
Starc’s injury opens the door for Jhye Richardson’s return to international cricket after his namesake Kane was preferred in the series opener.
Selectors could also opt to play a second spinner in Mitchell Swepson, although recent tropical rain in the island nation has resulted in conditions more suited to fast bowling.
Sean Abbott, who played both white-ball formats during the Pakistan tour earlier this year, was the other reserve quick in Australia’s T20 squad but has returned home after breaking a finger while batting in the nets.
Australia also has the option of dipping into the Australia A squad, which starts its four-match campaign against Sri Lanka A with a 50-over match this afternoon, but an international return for Richardson or Swepson appears most likely.
Uncapped quicks Aaron Hardie and Mark Steketee, Test allrounder Cameron Green and Ashes hero Scott Boland are the fast bowlers currently with the Australia A squad.
Richardson, who is in both Australia’s T20 and A squads, hasn’t played since the Marsh Cup final in early March where he injured his hamstring and his last match for the national side was during Australia’s home T20 series against Sri Lanka in February.
But he recently told cricket.com.au’s Unplayable Podcast in Colombo he was fit, firing and ready to get back into the action in Sri Lanka.
“I’m looking at the all the positives of playing the Australia A four-day stuff, it’s a great (re)introduction for me,” the 25-year-old said.
“This period I’ve had over the last couple of months of building up and bowling a lot of balls, it just looks like the next step of progressing with this conditioning block.
“I do love long-format cricket, so it’s just another step to getting back from my hamstring and getting back to playing good consistent cricket.”
Hazlewood said he expected the quicks to be rested at some point during the six-week all-format tour but perhaps not this soon.
“T20s are a bit crusier, once the one-dayers start it’s going to be tough to play all five, we’re in hot conditions and the games are back-to-back all the way through and two Tests at the end,” he said.
“We’ve got a number of quicks we can rotate through and I know spin will play a heavy part.”
Medical staff will assess Starc’s finger to determine whether it needs to be stitched or glued with the hope he will be available for the third T20I of the series in Kandy on Saturday night.
Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
Sri Lankan T20 squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwanidu Fernando, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwandissha, Maheesesh Pathir Thushara, Matheesh The Pathir Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan. Standby: Jeffrey Vandersay, Niroshan Dickwella
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade
June 7: First T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST
June 8: Second T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST
June 11: Third T20, Kandy, 11.30pm AEST
Sri Lanka ODI squad (provisional): Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya De Silva, Ashen Bandara, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Janith Liyanage, Dunith Wellalage, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Wanin Arduarchi Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 14: First ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST
June 16: Second ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST
June 19: Third ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
June 21: Fourth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
Sri Lanka Test squad (provisional): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Dilshan Madus Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan
Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 29 – July 3: First Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
July 8-12: Second Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
All Sri Lanka v Australia international fixtures will be screened live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports
Australia A fixtures
Australia A squad: Scott Boland, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Jimmy Peirson, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee
Sri Lanka A one day squad: Dhananjaya de Silva (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Udara, Lasith Croospulle, Oshada Fernando, Pabasara Waduge, Kamindu Mendis, Ashen Bandara, Janitha Liyanage, Sahan Arachchi, Pulina Tharanga, Dunith Wellalage, Dananjaya Lakshan, Shiran Fernando (will not play due to injury), Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan, Nishan Madushka, Ashen Daniel, Nisala Tharaka
June 8: First one day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo
June 10: Second one day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo
Jun 14-17: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota
June 21-24: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota