Dasun Shanaka blasted a rapid unbeaten half-century and held his nerve when bowling the final over as Sri Lanka beat India by 16 runs to level the Twenty20 International series.

Captain Shanaka bludgeoned 56 not out off only 22 balls to get the tourists up to 206-6 at the MCA Stadium on Thursday.

Kusal Mendis (52 from 31) also made a quickfire half-century, while Charith Asalanka struck 37 and Pathum Nissanka 33 two days after India edged the first T20I by two runs.

India looked to be heading for a hammering when they slumped to 57-5 in reply, the impressive Kasun Rajitha (2-22) removing openers Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill.

But a sixth-wicket stand of 91 between Axar Patel and Suryakumar Yadav kept them in the hunt, the spinner having also taken 2-24 after he kept it tight in the last over to seal victory in the opening match.

Dilshan Madushanka (2-45) removed Yadav (51 off 36) in the 16th over, yet Axar flexed his muscles with support from Shivam Mavi to give India a chance of pulling off an unlikely win.

With 21 needed off the final over, Shanaka dismissed Axar (65 off 31) and Mavi (26) with two of the only six balls he delivered to set up a decider in Rajkot on Saturday.

Shanaka steps up to lead by example

Sri Lanka had lost four wickets for 30 runs when Shanaka arrived at the crease, but the skipper took control of the situation with a swashbuckling knock.

He cleared the rope six times, Mavi and Umran Malik coming in for some treatment as 77 runs were scored in the final five overs.

Shanaka then took responsibility to bowl the last over and clearly thrived on the pressure, with Axar caught in the deep and Mavi taken by Maheesh Theekshana off the last ball.

Axar shows all-round capabilities

Spinner Axar was excellent with the ball, giving little away and taking two wickets.

He threatened to get India home with a brilliant knock to make a game of it, hitting six sixes and three fours. He was unable to deliver more final-over heroics, though, as India fell short.

Cameron Green thinks he and Mitchell Starc will be "touch and go" to be fit for the start of a four-match Test series against India.

Green underwent surgery after breaking his right index finger during a victory over South Africa in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Starc damaged his middle finger in the same match in Melbourne, with both players missing out as Australia attempt to secure a 3-0 whitewash of the Proteas at the SCG.

Australia start the first Test against India in Nagpur on February 9 and Green believes that contest could come too soon for himself and paceman Starc.

He told SEN WA: "I think me and Starcy are maybe touch and go for that first one but obviously we'll give ourselves the best chance.

"[It's] going well. Had successful surgery in Sydney and the surgeon is really happy with how it went. I think he did Tim Paine's successful surgery, so it fills me with a lot of confidence.

"The rehab is having two weeks of time [off], then two weeks to start running and get the shoulder and back moving just to double-check they haven't frozen over. Then probably at the four-week mark I'll try and hold a ball and see how that works.

"Try and hold a cricket bat and see how it feels. At the moment [the finger] feels really good, pain-free, so that gives me a bit of confidence in four weeks' time that it will be all good.

"We meet over in Sydney for the Allan Border Medal [ceremony], then we leave the next day to go to India."

Starc also dismissed talk that he may not be able to bowl for the Mumbai Indians at the start of his first Indian Premier League campaign.

He said: "No, that's not correct. I've heard about this for quite a while now. I don't know where it's come from. We've spoken to the selectors. I've heard that I'm 100 per cent available for both skill sets in the IPL at the start, so I'm not too sure where that's come from.

"Obviously my first priority is the Test series that's beforehand, getting myself right for the first Test."

Steve Smith is unsure how long he will carry on playing for Australia after surpassing the great Don Bradman's tally of Test centuries at the SCG on Thursday.

Smith reached three figures for the 30th time in the longest format on day two of the third Test against South Africa, making 104 on his home ground before Australia closed on 475-4 with Usman Khawaja unbeaten on 195.

Only Ricky Ponting (41) and Steve Waugh (32) have more Test hundreds for Australia than the 33-year-old Smith, who moved level with Matthew Hayden's haul.

The former captain is not thinking about his future as he enjoys living in the moment.

When asked about his future, he said: "I don't know, we'll see. I'm enjoying it at the moment. I really can't say how long I'll play for, I'm not sure.

"Take it one tour at a time, enjoy it, enjoy training and trying to get better. Whilst I'm doing that I'm happy playing, but don't know how long it will last."

Australia will fancy their chances of securing a 3-0 whitewash of the Proteas in Sydney as they look certain to seal their place in the Test Championship final at The Oval in June.

Smith is relishing the opportunity to pass on his experience to his team-mates as he continues to rack up the runs.

"It's [about] trying to get better, help the team win games of cricket," he added. "I think we've played some really good cricket the last 12 months…we've got two really big hurdles in front of us with India and the Ashes.

"For me, it is trying to get better and trying to help some of the other batters coming through.

"I still try to help Marnus [Labuschagne] as much as possible, [Travis] Head, Cameron Green, Matty Renshaw, Marcus Harris…try to impart as much knowledge of conditions and ways to go about.

"If I can say something and you see that lightbulb go on and someone figures something out I get a big thrill out of that. I'll try and help them as much as I can."

Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith scored centuries as Australia built a massive lead before rain intervened again on the second day of the third Test against South Africa at the SCG on Thursday.

Australia were 475-4 at stumps after play was interrupted by light rain at drinks in the final session with Khawaja unbeaten on 195* alongside Matt Renshaw (5*).

The hosts were utterly dominant, beating the Proteas into submission, with only two wickets falling across 84 overs bowled for the day. However, the issue of time remaining in the Test looms large after more delays on day two, with grim weather forecast for Sydney in the coming days.

Khawaja had resumed alongside Smith with Australia 148-2 after only 47 overs were bowled on day one due to a combination of bad light and rain.

After an early rain delay, the 36-year-old left-handed opening batsman led from the front, bringing up his 13th Test century late in the opening session with two off Kagiso Rabada.

Khawaja celebrated his third straight SCG hundred with an air-punch and a little jig. Smith brought up his half-century shortly after.

South Africa skipper Dean Elgar demonstrably discarded the old ball when the Proteas took the new ball shortly before lunch, but it led to few opportunities for the tourists.

Smith went on to bring up his 30th Test century, surpassing the great Sir Donald Bradman, pulled to the backward square leg boundary from Anrich Nortje to reach triple figures.

But the vice-captain was dismissed caught and behind by Keshav Maharaj for 104 in the next over, ending their 209-run third-wicket stand. That marked the pair's 10th century partnership from 33 innings.

Travis Head kept the game moving with aggressive stroke play, blasting eight fours and one six before being caught by sub fielder Rassie van der Dussen at deep square off the tiring Rabada.

Renshaw, who tested positive to COVID on day one and had to keep his distance from team-mates, batted late in the day before stumps was called.

Patient Khawaja bats through

Khawaja finished the day unbeaten on 195, having faced 368 deliveries with 19 fours and one six, batting through the opening two days, albeit amid numerous delays. The Queenslander's 195* is his highest Test score and he will be chasing a maiden Test double hundred on Friday.

Maharaj breaks duck

Proteas left-arm orthodox spinner Maharaj had endured a lean series prior to claiming Smith's wicket, which was his first in the three Tests. That dismissal ended Maharaj's dire record of 0-247 from 66.5 overs in the series.

The Barbados Cricket Board will host a tri-series tournament to decide their West Indies Championship squad in January.

Shai Hope, Shane Dowrich and Nicholas Kirton will captain the different sides which are named after Sir Charles Griffith, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Wes Hall.

The first match is from January 5-7, second is from January 10-12 and the third match is from 15-17. After those three, the Pride squad will play the best remaining players from the series in a four-day practice match from January 21-24.

Sir Charles Griffith Squad: Nicholas Kirton (Captain), Mikhail Austin, Joshua Bishop, Leniko Boucher, Jamaine Bullen, Rivaldo Clarke, Zidane Clarke, Joshua Drakes, Tauron Gibson, Keon Harding, Chaim Holder, Jarion Hoyte, Matthew Jones, Shayne Mosley, Shamar Springer, Craig St. Hill, Shanaldo Taylor, Kevin Wickham.

Sir Garfield Sobers Squad: Shai Hope (Captain), Marrodon Bend, Joshua DOrne, Jonathan Drakes, Jaden Edmund, Matthew Forde, Amari Goodridge, Chemar Holder, Javed Leacock, Jaden Lorde, Zachary McCaskie, Antonio Morris, Tariq O’Neale, Indal Persaud, Demario Richards, Demetrius Richards, Jomel Warrican, Rashawn Worrell.

Sir Wes Hall Squad: Shane Dowrich (Captain), Michael Agard, Kadeem Alleyne, Camarie Boyce, Shian Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Romario Greaves, Kyle Hope, Aaron Jones, Akeem Jordan, Johann Layne, Kalvin Marcus, Jair McAllister, Hakeem Perryman, Nathan Sealy, Kemar Smith, Akeem Springer, Nyeem Young.

Josh Hazlewood is hopeful he can reassert his place in Australia's bowling attack ahead of the third and final Test against South Africa.

With Australia having already wrapped up a series victory following an impressive rout at the MCG, Pat Cummins' side head to Sydney in search of a clean sweep.

Injuries to Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc have seen Ashton Agar and Matt Renshaw handed red-ball recalls for the match, while Scott Boland has impressed through the series, but Hazlewood will hope he can rediscover his form after returning from injury.

Having missed the majority of a home Ashes series just over a year ago, Hazlewood played only two Tests in 2022, though the paceman believes he still has a valuable position in the pecking order.

"I still feel like it's in place," Hazlewood told reporters. "It's always good to have pressure It's great to have options, and it keeps you on your toes.

"[Injuries have been] frustrating, definitely. I don't feel like I've been injured much. It just happens to be at the wrong time of the year.

"The Test matches are so close together now. Apart from that, [for] the rest of the 24 months I've been fit and firing. So it's frustrating when you think about it like that."

Green and Starc's absence will possibly open the door for Hazlewood to feature, though he will face increased competition again when the two return.

But the focus will be on ensuring a whitewash against the Proteas at the SCG, where Australia have lost just one of their last 21 Tests.

Australia have won their last three men’s Tests against South Africa at home, the last and only time they recorded a longer winning run against the Proteas in such fixtures was an eight-match span from February 1911 to December 1952.

South Africa meanwhile risk losing a fifth straight Test, matching the rough run they endured between February and October 2019.

Khawaja heads to happy hunting ground

While his team-mates have been racking up big scores against the Proteas, Usman Khawaja has struggled for form across the series, with a total of 14 runs over three innings.

But he heads to a venue with rich pickings. Just 33 runs away from 4,000 in international red-ball cricket, his Test average at the SCG of 98.3 is the third-best of any player at the stadium, behind Wally Hammond and Sachin Tendulkar.

Nortje out to frustrate foes again

It has been a humbling experience for South Africa with bat and ball, but Anrich Nortje will hope at least to continue being a thorn in the side of opposition orders in 2023.

Batters played and missed at 19 per cent of balls he bowled in Tests in 2022, the highest rate of any player.

New Zealand paceman Adam Milne's international return has suffered a setback, with a hamstring worry seeing him withdrawn from the ODI squad to tackle Pakistan and India.

Milne returned from five years away from the national team when he played two ODIs against India in November, but the 30-year-old later missed two domestic games for the Wellington Firebirds.

In a statement, New Zealand said there were "concerns about his preparation" and it was "considered too big of a risk" to take Milne, leading to a "mutual agreement" he would be replaced by Blair Tickner.

New Zealand, the world's top-ranked team in ODIs, face Pakistan in three matches from January 9, before heading to India for another three-match series, starting on January 18.

Selector Gavin Larsen said: "Adam was very up front with us about his concerns around the lack of one-day bowling loading for the upcoming tours.

"After chatting to him, we agreed his preparation leading into the tour wouldn't be sufficient for him to cope with the demands of back-to-back, three-game ODI series. We appreciate his honesty and his genuine desire not to let the team down."

The preparations for the IPL 2023 are underway, and all ten franchises have completed their squads after buying their preferred players at the recently concluded IPL auction.

Sam Curran became the most expensive player in IPL’s history after Punjab Kings bought him for 18.50 crore. Meanwhile, Ben Stokes and Cameron Green also went big.

One surprising pick that went for big money was West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran. Lucknow Super Giants spent 16 crore (US$ 2 million) on the 27-year-old, which left many shocked.

Pooran has had his moments of fame in the IPL, but his overall stats are disappointing, which is why the fans felt that Pooran has been overpaid by the KL Rahul-led franchise.

In 47 matches in his IPL career, Pooran has scored just 912 runs, including four fifty-plus scores.

LSG’s global mentor, Gautam Gambhir, responded to the trolls and criticism for Pooran and justified the big spending on the Caribbean star.

Gambhir said that he does not judge a player by last year’s performance but looks at its impact on the game.

“I do not look at the last season. I look at a player’s ability and impact. Pooran can win us 2-3 matches, and with age on his side, we wanted him to build the team around him.”

Gambhir took an indirect dig on old-school players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who score fifty-plus runs but at an underwhelming strike rate.

“The tournament is not about scoring 500-600 runs in a season. It is about winning matches by scoring impactful runs.”

Former Test opening batsman Philo Wallace doesn’t believe that Shivnarine Chanderpaul should become the new head coach of the West Indies cricket team.

Speaking on the Mason And Guest cricket radio show on Tuesday night, Wallace said that Chanderpaul was lacking coaching experience at the international level and was not the man for the job.

“Shiv Chanderpaul as head coach would surprise me. If he is appointed, is it based on scoring 11,000 Test runs, his coaching experience at the international level is very limited. We cannot continue to keep following people. We have to set the example. Chanderpaul has been a fantastic player. He has had some success with the Jamaican Tallawahs, is it possible he can transfer that into red ball cricket?”

“Is there a bigger role outside of head coach for Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Can he be our batting consultant? Is he better suited for that role rather than a being head coach. These are things that need to be discussed. Just don’t appoint a man because he has over 11 000 Test runs,” Wallace said.

Wallace, 52, a former Barbados captain, said that selecting a head coach of the West Indies is going to be a major headache.

“We need to get someone to get our young people to understand what Test cricket is all about. Is Chanderpaul capable of doing that?

“I know he has matured now, he is a better person but is he not better suited to be the batting consultant. The head coach of Cricket West Indies is going to be a headache. If you have not appointed one for the new year for the serious tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa, you are staring down the barrel in relation to applications for the head coach job,” he added.

The 48-year-old Chanderpaul is one of the most prolific bastmen in the history of West Indies’ cricket, scoring 11,867 runs with 30 hundreds. He played the last of his 164 matches against England at Kensington Oval in May 2015.

 

David Warner has the "hunger and determination" to deliver for Australia once again, acknowledging he was glad to put his own doubts to rest.

Heading into his 100th red-ball game for his country at the MCG on Monday, the batsman had not scored a half-century in his previous 10 innings in the format.

But a glorious 200 formed the bedrock of a crushing victory over South Africa in Melbourne and reaffirmed Warner's talent as one of the finest openers of his generation.

After a difficult year, the 36-year-old was relieved to remind himself he still had the potential to deliver.

"Was there doubts? Yeah, of course, there were doubts in my mind," he said. "But for me, it was about just going out there and knowing that I've still got that hunger and determination.

"I still know what energy I can bring to the team. I think once I start losing that spark and energy around training, I think that's when I probably know it's time [to quit]."

With a tour of India and an Ashes series against England to come, discussions had been rife before the South Africa series of Warner calling time on his Test career before he was dropped for good.

He is not entertaining any idea of quitting now however, adding: "I'm running faster than a lot of these youngsters in [the dressing room].

"So when they catch up to me then I might think about pulling the pin.

"But I think the extra motivation for me is winning in India and completely winning a series in England. I've been told by the coach and the selectors that they'd like me to be there."

Australia's victory at the MCG wrapped up their first Test series win over South Africa on home soil in 17 years.

The third and final Test takes place in Sydney next week.

Selector Tony Dodemaide says picking Ashton Agar and Matt Renshaw has ensured Australia have been able to "cover all bases" for the final Test against South Africa.

Australia are on the brink of qualifying for the World Test Championship final after securing a first Test series win at home to the Proteas for 17 years.

They took an unassailable 2-0 lead in emphatic fashion at the MCG, hammering the tourists by an innings and 182 runs.

Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc are out of the third Test at the SCG after suffering broken fingers in Melbourne, so the selectors have bolstered the squad by calling up spinner Agar and batter Renshaw.

Agar has not played for his country in the longest format since September 2017, while Renshaw last played a Test against South Africa in March 2018.

Josh Hazlewood returns after recovering from a side strain, while paceman could make his debut in a Test that gets under way next Wednesday.

Dodemaide revealed Australia are keeping their options open and will make a call on the team after looking at the pitch in Sydney.

"It's a blessing to have Josh returning while Lance offers a genuine point of difference with his raw pace and skill," Dodemaide said.

"This squad will cover all bases for when we get to Sydney and assess the conditions closer to the Test match."

He added: "Matthew [Renshaw] is included as a versatile batting option who is in good form, including an unbeaten century in the recent PM's XI tour match against the West Indies

"Ashton offers a second spin option should the Sydney pitch be conducive to turn, as it has done in the past. He also brings a solid batting component."

 

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Nathan Lyon, Matt Renshaw, Steve Smith, David Warner

Brian Lara and Chris Gayle will headline several legends who will take part in the first ever RESI Legends T20 game at the Treasure Beach Sports Park in St. Elizabeth on January 15.

The game is being put on by former West indies fast bowler Daren Powell, who is the founder of RESI Legends and will also be playing in the game.

The day’s festivities will kick off at 9:00 am with a match between the St. Elizabeth All Stars and the Manchester All Stars before Lara’s XI and Gayle’s XI square off in the marquee event.

Gayle and Lara will be joined by the likes of Jerome Taylor, Krishmar Santokie, Wavell Hinds, Robert Haynes, Nehemiah Perry, Nikita Miller and Delroy Morgan.

Powell, speaking SportsMax.TV, said that the participation of international players like Sulieman Benn, Daren Ganga, Dave Mohammed, Dwayne Smith, Kirk Edwards, Devendra Bishoo and Narsingh Deonarine was not yet confirmed as he is still seeking sponsorship from airlines to fly them to Jamaica for the event.

Powell, who represented the West Indies in 37 Tests, 55 ODIs and five T20Is from 2002-2009, wants the match to “reignite cricket in the parish of St. Elizabeth,” before emphasizing that the focus of the event is cricket, not charity.

“It’s a cricket event, a legends cricket event that we are putting on. Normally in my life whatever I do, from when I was playing for the West Indies, I contribute to my past school and assist people who need it. In this situation, I’m playing cricket to bring back life to me and life to St. Elizabeth and, in so doing, if there is support from the public and corporate Jamaica, if there so be a case that I can contribute to any entity, I will. My main focus is about cricket.”

He also spoke extensively about the presence of Brian Lara, calling it an opportunity for the development of the parish in more areas than just cricket.

“I thought I was putting on a Cricket match but ever since Brian Lara’s name has been mentioned in it, I have seen whereas it is more than just cricket. It’s about sports tourism also. It’s a good thing for the hoteliers and workers in the parish. It is something that can bear fruit and every entity in Jamaica can benefit from; tourism, sports and locals.”

“Once this game can go off successfully, hopefully we’ll have another one a year from now.”

 

 

 

 

The Cricket West Indies Selection Panel on Thursday named the 16-member West Indies Women’s squad to play in a T20 International (T20I) Tri-Series against South Africa and India in East London from 19 to 30 January 2023 as part of their final preparations for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in February. 

The West Indies Women will play at least four matches, playing two matches each against hosts South Africa and India. The two leading teams will then play each other in the Tri-Series Final at Buffalo Park on 2 February. ​ West Indies will also play a warm-up match against South Africa ahead of the Tri-Series at Beacon Bay on 16 January.

Lead Selector Ann Browne-John said: “The selection panel has named a squad that we believe has the talent and experience to compete against India and South Africa. The squad sees the return of Stafanie Taylor who missed the recent series against England due to injury and Britney Cooper, the middle order batter who last played against South Africa Women in September 2021. 

Browne-John added: “Our batting in the most recent series was less than par against a very good England bowling attack. We believe that with the return of some experienced batters, they will the able to support captain Hayley Matthews at the top of the order. Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman also return after injury and will fortify the pace attack with Chinelle Henry, Cherry Ann Fraser and Aaliyah Alleyne. The team had commendable performances in South Africa in early 2022 and we know that the entire team will be drawing on that experience as they take on the home team and India in this Tri-Series and then potentially again at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup also in South Africa.”

All matches in the Tri-Series will be played at the Buffalo Park in East London. 

Final squads for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa must be submitted by 2 February. The eighth edition of the marquee ICC Women’s Event will begin on 10 February with hosts South Africa taking on Sri Lanka. West Indies have been drawn in Group 2 alongside England, India, Pakistan and Ireland.

Newlands, Cape Town, Boland Park, Paarl and St. George’s Park, Gqeberha are the host venues for the tournament with both Semi-Finals and Final being played in Cape Town. The Final at Newlands will be held on 26 February. ​

FULL SQUAD

  • Hayley Matthews ​ (Captain)
  • Aaliyah Alleyne
  • Shemaine Campbelle
  • Shamilia Connell
  • Britney Cooper
  • Chedean Nation
  • Cherry Ann Fraser
  • Afy Fletcher
  • Shabika Gajnabi
  • Sheneta Grimmond
  • Chinelle Henry
  • Karishma Ramharack
  • Kaysia Schultz
  • Shakera Selman
  • Stafanie Taylor
  • Rashada Williams

Match Schedule

16 January: Warm up Match vs South Africa, Beacon Bay 

T20I Tri-Series West Indies Match Schedule – all matches to be played at Buffalo Park, East London

21 January: vs South Africa, 3pm local time (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

23 January: vs India, 7pm local time (1pm Eastern Caribbean/12noon Jamaica)

25 January: vs South Africa, 3pm local time (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

30 January: vs India, 3pm local time (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

2 February: ​ Tri-Series Final, 3pm local time (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Group 2 West Indies Match schedule

13 February: vs England, Boland Park, Paarl, 3pm (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

15 February: vs India, Newlands, Cape Town, 3pm (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

17 February: vs Ireland, Newlands, Cape Town,7pm (1pm Eastern Caribbean/12noon Jamaica)

19 February: vs Pakistan, Boland Park, Paarl, 3pm (9am Eastern Caribbean/8am Jamaica)

 

India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant was "lucky to survive" after being injured in a serious car crash near his hometown of Roorkee, Uttarakhand on Friday.

The Delhi Capitals, Pant's Indian Premier League franchise, confirmed he had been moved to a second hospital following the incident that occurred between the towns of Manglaur and Narsan.

Local police said Pant's car collided with a road divider and caught fire, with images of the wrecked vehicle widely shared on social media.

"Pant sustained injuries on his forehead, a hand and right knee," said Swapn Kishor Singh, superintendent of Haridwar rural police, according to the Times of India.

"However, he is conscious and able to talk. The car he was driving was completely burnt. He is lucky to survive the severe accident."

Dr Dishant Yagnik, medical superintendent of Max Hospital in Dehradun, addressed media outlets outside the facility as he allayed fears over Pant's condition.

"We are still examining him. He is stable at the moment, there doesn't appear to be cause for major worry. Once the evaluation is complete, we will put out a detailed bulletin," he said.

"He is conscious, and he is talking, and the doctors are examining wherever he is saying there is discomfort.

"Orthopaedics and plastic surgeons are looking at him right now. And we are examining for any internal injuries."

Jay Shah, general secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), provided an update on social media, adamant Pant will get the required assistance from the BCCI.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Rishabh Pant as he fights his way back to recovery," Shah wrote.

"I have spoken to his family and the doctors treating him. Rishabh is stable and undergoing scans. We are closely monitoring his progress and will provide him with all the necessary support."

Pant represented India as recently as Sunday, when his haul of 93 runs led them to a second-Test victory over Bangladesh, sealing a 2-0 series win.

Australia have called in spinner Ashton Agar and batsman Matthew Renshaw to replace the injured Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc for the third Test against South Africa at the SCG.

Green and Starc both sustained finger injuries in the second Test against the Proteas at the MCG, which concluded on Thursday with victory by an innings and 182 runs, ruling them out of the final game starting on Wednesday.

Josh Hazlewood is available for selection after missing the last three Tests with a side strain, meaning he is likely to come into the side as a direct replacement for Starc.

Agar, who memorably made 98 on his Test debut in the 2013 Ashes, looms as the probable replacement for all-rounder Green, with Australian selectors eager to add a spinning option alongside Nathan Lyon at the SCG.

"Ashton offers a second spin option should the Sydney pitch be conducive to turn, as it has done in the past," selector Tony Dodemaide said. "He also brings a solid batting component.

"Matthew is included as a versatile batting option who is in good form, including an unbeaten century in the recent PM’s XI tour match against the West Indies.

"In terms of fast bowlers, it’s a blessing to have Josh [Hazlewood] returning while Lance [Morris] offers a genuine point of difference with his raw pace and skill.

"This squad will cover all bases for when we get to Sydney and assess the conditions closer to the Test match."

Left-arm orthodox spinner Agar has played four Tests, the last coming in 2017, taking nine wickets and scoring 195 runs.

Renshaw, who last played a Test in 2018, has scored 310 runs in eight innings for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield this season.

Cricket Australia confirmed Starc is unavailable with a small fracture to his left middle finger, while Green is out with a fracture to his right index finger.

Australia have an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-game Test series.

Australia squad : Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, David Warner

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