AUSTRALIA’S turbulent tour took another twist last night, after seam bowler James Pattinson was ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes series with a back injury leaving coach Darren Lehmann to ponder selecting two spinners for the third Test at Old Trafford next week,
The Baggy Green trail England 2-0 and have not overturned such a deficit to win the Ashes for 76 years.
And they will now have to do so without Pattinson, who has taken seven wickets in the series, after scans revealed yesterday that he had a lower back stress fracture.
Spinner Ashton Agar is also struggling with a hip injury and will be replaced by Nathan Lyon for a tour match against Sussex this week.
However, Lehmann has revealed the pair could play together when hostilities resume with England.
“History shows it spins a bit and reverses so maybe two spinners, but we’ll just have to look at that when we get to Manchester,” he said.
“Ash’s only young, he’s been a great young lad and he’ll continue to improve. If it’s going to spin we’ll certainly look at two spinners.”
Meanwhile, Lehmann has revealed his concerns over the mental strength of his top order batsmen, with Australia yet to pass 300 runs in four innings against England.
Teenage tail-ender Agar has been their most prolific batsman with 130 runs and Lehmann admits his players are suffering from a collective mental block.
“We’ve certainly got to bat better, we know that. But it’s probably more of a mental thing,” he added.
“If we get the mental side of it right we’ll start to bat better and get some results. We’ve bowled really well so we can’t worry about what anyone else says.”