India opener Prithvi Shaw will miss next week’s first Test against Australia because of an ankle injury, while the tourists’ bowlers have been given a reality check in their only tune-up.
Shaw hurt himself trying to complete a catch on the boundary early on day three of India’s four-day match at the SCG, snaffling the ball then rolling his ankle while attempting to stay in the field of play.
The 19-year-old’s immediate reaction was one of agony as he grabbed his lower left leg, with the tourists later confirming that scans revealed some ligament damage that will ensure he doesn’t play the four-Test series opener at Adelaide Oval.
Shaw is also likely to miss the second Test, which starts on December 14, as there is only a three-day turnaround between the games.
The absence of the teenager, who last month became the youngest Indian to score a century on Test debut and top-scored for India on Thursday with an impressive 66, is a big blow for the visitors.
It isn’t the only headache for captain Virat Kohli, who knows the quality and consistency of his attack is likely to decide whether India’s bid for a maiden Test series win in Australia is successful.
An inexperienced Cricket Australia XI marched to 6-356 at stumps on Friday in response to India’s 358.
Max Bryant and Aaron Hardie, both yet to play first-class cricket, D’Arcy Short and Harry Nielsen all passed 50.
Nielsen finished 56 not out while Hardie, the allrounder who dismissed Kohli and claimed 4-50 on Thursday, will resume on 69.
The match doesn’t have first-class status, as per India’s request, and it’s generally foolish to read too much into any tour game but Kohli won’t be thrilled with the output of his pacemen.
Pacemen Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma all struggled with their consistency, while star offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin returned 1-63 from 24 overs.
KL Rahul and Murali Vijay, who didn’t bat in India’s first innings of the tour game, are expected to open at Adelaide Oval in the absence of Shaw.
The visitors haven’t given up hope of Shaw, who coach Ravi Shastri has likened to a mix of Sachin Tendulkar, Virendar Sehwag and Brian Lara, playing the inaugural Test at Optus Stadium in Perth.
“He will undergo an intensive rehabilitation program to hasten the recovery and be available for selection at the earliest,” Board of Control for Cricket in India bigwig Amitabh Choudhary said in a statement.
Shaw was carried off the ground then rushed to hospital for scans. He returned to the SCG in a moonboot and on crutches.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, M Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Murali Vijay
Australia: D’Arcy Short, Max Bryant, Jake Carder, Sam Whiteman (c), Param Uppal, Harry Nielsen (wk), Jonathan Merlo, Aaron Hardie, Luke Robins, Jackson Coleman, Daniel Fallins. Aaron Summers (12th)