Sport Jhye Richardson favoured to replace Josh Hazlewood for day-night Ashes Test
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Jhye Richardson favoured to replace Josh Hazlewood for day-night Ashes Test

Jhye Richardson is tipped for a Test recall after a superb start to the Sheffield Shield season. Photo: AAP
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Jhye Richardson’s impressive start to the Sheffield Shield season looks set to land him an Ashes berth while extending Michael Neser’s agonisingly long wait for a Test debut.

Australia’s officials confirmed on Monday that Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the Adelaide Test with a side strain, leaving him in a race to be fit for the Boxing Day fixture.

Injured in Australia’s first Test win at the Gabba, Hazlewood had scans that initially cleared him of any real concern as he returned to bowling on day four.

But he has since returned home to Sydney for treatment, with Australia’s selectors unclear if he will recover in time for Boxing Day at the MCG.

Hazlewood’s absence shapes as a genuine blow for Australia, given he averages 19.90 with the pink ball and only Mitchell Starc has taken more wickets in day-night Tests.

It does open the door for a new face after back-up quick James Pattinson’s retirement from the international arena.

Theoretically, the Adelaide Test should be Neser’s best shot at a Test debut.

He has carried the drinks in Tests more than a dozen times, and claimed 5-29 in the Australia A match against the England Lions last week.

Conditions in Adelaide would also be expected to suit his ability to swing the ball, however his average in day-night Sheffield Shield matches is surprisingly high at 30.41.

The 31-year-old also would have been considered the most like-for-like replacement for Hazlewood, given his consistency.

But in Richardson, Australia’s selectors are likely to have a case too hard to ignore.

Sidelined from Test cricket since his debut series against Sri Lanka, he has been the second leading wicket-taker to start this summer’s Sheffield Shield with 23 at 13.43.

He was also considered a genuine option for the first Test in Brisbane if one of Australia’s quicks weren’t right to go.

The West Australian impressed on debut with the pink ball in 2018-19, taking five wickets in the day-night Gabba Test.

“We do get a chance to look at Jhye Richardson again who’s played a couple of Tests and was red-hot in Sheffield Shield cricket,” former Test quick Damien Fleming told SEN.

“He’ll end up a real handful for the Poms.”

Former Australian seamer Stuart Clark also backed Richardson to be picked.

“He’s been thereabouts in the squad,” Clark told Sky Sports Radio.

“If you’re going to play Neser it’s Brisbane and Adelaide, but Richardson looks like he’s bowling well.

“Anyone the quality of Josh Hazlewood is going to be missed.

“Richardson will do a good job, but Josh Hazlewood’s record under lights at Adelaide, is like Mitchell Starc’s. He gets wickets for fun.”

Australia is more confident about its only other injury concern David Warner, who flew to Adelaide ahead of the team on Sunday to see family after he suffered bruised ribs in the series opener.

-AAP