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Australia's Ashes headache only gets worse

ESPNcricinfo staff
July 23, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
James Pattinson's Ashes series in England is over © Getty Images
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James Pattinson has been ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes series in England after being diagnosed with a stress fracture of the lower back.

Pattinson reported "hip and back soreness" after the final day of the second Investec Test at Lord's and subsequent scans, which he underwent in London on Monday, showed the early signs of a stress fracture.

He will travel with the squad to Sussex and then on to Manchester before returning home to Australia. His place was likely to have come under scrutiny ahead of the Old Trafford Test after two disappointing performances at Trent Bridge and Lord's, where he has taken seven wickets at 43.85.

Cricket Australia team doctor Peter Brukner said: "We had some scans done today in London that have identified an early stage low back stress fracture. Unfortunately he will not take any further part in this Test series and will commence a rehabilitation program with the aim to have him back for the Australian summer."

Pat Howard, the Cricket Australia team performance manager, added: "While we are obviously disappointed for James, the selectors have five bowlers fit and ready perform in England, providing them with many options.

"It is also important to note that several players have been performing for Australia A and are available to be called up at any stage if the NSP required them. We've been well planned to have as many bowlers fit and available in the lead-up to this important series and while this set-back for James is disappointing, we are confident we have good fast bowling depth."

The pace bowlers currently on duty for Australia A in Zimbabwe and South Africa are Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Chadd Sayers, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Gurinder Sandhu.

Cummins, regularly billed as one of the brighest talents in Australian cricket, has played one Test and is being handled very carefully by Cricket Australia after he, too, suffered a number of injuries. Hazlewood, who has appeared in one ODI and one Twenty20, is another who has had fitness issues.

Sayers has played just 14 first-class matches but put his name in contention with an impressive 2012-13 season and showed eye-catching form when Australia A were in the UK ahead of the Ashes series. Coulter-Nile was part of Australia's squad for the recent Champions Trophy in England.

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