BRISBANE (AFP) — Australia are picking up the pieces after a punishing day in the field as India took the upper hand in the second Test at the sweltering Gabba on Wednesday.
The tourists had their best day on tour, reaching 311 for four after winning the toss on the opening day with opener Murali Vijay leading the way with 144.
The sapping heat took its toll on the Australians with three bowlers succumbing to heat or injuries. More hot weather is forecast in the Test.
The major concern was all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who came off the field just after lunch with a hamstring injury and is unlikely to bowl again for the rest of the Brisbane Test.
Josh Hazlewood cramped up and was forced off the ground late in the day, while fellow paceman Mitchell Starc has a sore back.
Team physio Alex Kountouris was a busy man detailing the Australian team’s walking wounded at the end of the day’s play.
“Mitchell Marsh has got a mild hamstring strain, low grade strain, on the right leg,” Kountouris told reporters.
“He’s had surgery on the left leg a year ago and he also injured the right one about two years ago.
“He’s unlikely he will bowl again (in the Test). He will have a scan and we will try to get him on the field tomorrow and hopefully have him batting in some way that’s useful.”
Kountouris said Starc’s problems were back-related but he was expected to bowl on Thursday’s second day.
“His back was sore and he was getting some rib pain. It’s not a side strain and we don’t think it’s anything that will stop him bowling. We think he’s going to be okay to bowl tomorrow.”
The team physio said Hazlewood, playing in his debut Test, was troubled by cramps during the scorching conditions.
“He had cramps all over his body.
“The difficulty with him was that he was cramping everywhere,” he said.
“Both calves, both hamstrings, groin, hips, he couldn’t just function and you could see his pace was down when he came back to bowl again.
“He will recover overnight and we’ll see how he is in the morning.”
Looking ahead to the next Test, starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day, Kountouris said experienced paceman Ryan Harris was working towards being fit to play after missing the Brisbane Test.
“Harris is a chance for the next Test. He has a low-grade quad strain and we need him to be bowling by the end of this Test match — and if he can get to that, we’ll be confident of him playing in the next game. It’s going to be touch and go,” he said.