SYDNEY: Steve Smith will captain Australia in the second Test against the West Indies after skipper Pat Cummins was ruled out due to injury Wednesday with Scott Boland replacing him.
The pace spearhead has been nursing a mild thigh problem and did not bowl on the last two days of the opening Test in Perth, which Australia won by 164 runs.
Cummins had expressed confidence in being fit for the second day-night Test in Adelaide that begins Thursday but has not recovered in time.
“Team medical staff commenced Cummins’ recovery in Adelaide but selectors deemed there was not sufficient time for the fast bowler to be fully fit for the match,” Cricket Australia said.
Cummins also missed last year’s Adelaide Test against England as a close Covid-19 contact, with vice-captain Smith standing in as skipper on that occasion as well.
Boland played in the Ashes campaign but was overlooked for successive overseas tours this year.
Australia play five Tests this summer, with three against South Africa after the West Indies, and face a huge 2023, with the Australian skipper on Sunday saying he was conscious that he has a lot of bowling ahead.
“It’s definitely part of the thought process the last few days. I don’t really want to turn a one-weeker into a three- or four-week injury and potentially miss the summer,” Cummins said.
He is expected to return for the opening Test against South Africa in Brisbane later this month.
Even without Cummins bowling in the West Indies’ second innings in Perth, Australia were too good, with Nathan Lyon shouldering the burden, ending with 6-128 despite the wicket offering little for spinners.
They head into this week’s clash with an ominous record in pink-ball Tests, having won all nine they have contested — six of them at Adelaide Oval.
The West Indies have their own injury worries, with top-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner suffering a concussion in Perth. It is unclear whether he will be fit to play this week.
Their pace attack is also struggling, with Kyle Mayers (shoulder strain) unable to bowl in the Perth second innings while Kemar Roach limped off with a hamstring niggle, and Jayden Seales has been battling knee pain.
Anderson Phillip is the first-choice backup bowler, but the uncapped Marquino Mindley could also play after arriving in Adelaide from his homeland on Tuesday as cover.
“You’ve still got to stay positive,” West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick told reporters.
“We are playing the best team in the world, and we just want to grind and fight and stay in the fight as long as possible.”