Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the opening Test against South Africa due to the side strain he picked up last week but Australia captain Pat Cummins is on track to return at the Gabba.
The selectors have named a 14-player squad for the Test which starts on Saturday in Brisbane with uncapped Lance Morris retained after he was called up against the West Indies game in Adelaide.
It seems likely that Cummins, who had a quad strain, will return in place of Michael Neser with Scott Boland, who produced a triple-wicket maiden on Saturday evening in Adelaide, set to retain his place. However Neser, who plays for Queensland, has an outstanding first-class record at the Gabba with 77 wickets at 19.46.

Cummins bowled on the outfield ahead of play on the third and fourth days in Adelaide and is due to do so again at the ground on Tuesday.

“Pat continues to improve, bowled with freedom on Saturday and appears likely to play this match although Josh will need more time,” national selector George Bailey said. “With that in mind we have retained Michael Neser and Lance Morris in the squad for this match.

“Michael bowled superbly in Adelaide, as did Scott. We were impressed as always with their performances that backed up what they have achieved in the past. Lance is a very exciting prospect who will benefit from time with the squad. With so much cricket ahead, we continue to seek opportunities to grow and maintain our fast-bowling experience and depth.”

For Hazlewood there are unfortunate similarities to last season where he picked up a side strain in the opening match of the Ashes and was then ruled out of the series. The hope this time is that he will have the chance to play in Melbourne or Sydney, but the turnaround during the series is very tight.

The performances of Neser and Boland in Adelaide highlighted the pace-bowling depth Australia have on offer.

“The fact guys are coming in and doing great jobs, it’s great for stocks,” stand-in captain Steven Smith said. “They are all different, the way they go about. Boland and Neser, they are a little more skiddy and bring the stumps into play a little bit more than Cummo and Hoff [Hazlewood].

“Lance Morris has been in the squad, most guys aren’t too keen on facing him in the nets. We’ll that opportunity at the Gabba on some faster wickets which will be nice. Our stocks are great so keeps things really competitive.”

Marcus Harris retains his spot as the reserve batter.

Australia squad David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland, Michael Neser, Marcus Harris, Lance Morris


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