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Cummins out, Boland in, Smith to lead team after thigh injury rules captain out of second Test



Australian selectors have resisted the temptation to rush young speedster Lance Morris into the team for the second Test with Scott Boland named to return to the side against the West Indies in Adelaide after Pat Cummins was ruled out with a thigh injury.

Boland will play his fourth Test match for Australia after taking 18 wickets at an astonishing average of 9.55 in his Ashes fairtytale.

Cummins suffered a quadricep strain suffered in the first innings of the big win in Perth so vice-captain Steve Smith will lead the team, coincidentally at the same venue he stepped into the role last year when COVID protocols prevented Cummins from playing against England.

Boland took 6-7 at the MCG as the now 33-year-old Victorian made one of the most memorable Test debuts in Ashes history last summer.

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Australia’s selectors decided there was not sufficient time for Cummins to be fully fit for the day-nighter but he is expected to be fine to play South Africa in Brisbane, which starts next Saturday.

Morris, the 24-year-old bolter from Western Australia, and Queensland veteran Michael Neser are in the extended squad as cover for Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood if the selectors want to give them a rest after a heavy workload in Perth.

Scott Boland of Australia (L) celebrates after dismissing Jonathan Bairstow of England (R) during day three of the Third Test match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

(Photo by Daniel Pockett – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

The leading wicket taker in the Shield arena this summer, Morris’ 27 scalps at 18.4 – combined with his ability to bowl in the 150km/h ballpark – makes him a tantalising prospect. 

Morris bagged 3-22 to nearly lead WA to a victory in their rain-shortened match with Queensland at the Gabba and could have had more with Gurinder Sandhu dropped off his bowling in the slips with the home side 6-45 trying to hold out for a draw late on Sunday.

Starc (45) and Hazlewood (43) sent down plenty of overs in Perth as well so there is a possibility one or both of them could be rested as well given they were bowling on Sunday and have just a three-day rest period before the next Test gets under way. 

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