MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s opening batsman David Warner has been declared fit for the team’s second test against New Zealand that starts on Thursday despite being hit on the hand while batting in the nets on Monday.
Warner had to have medical checks after he was struck on the thumb. He returned to training with his hand strapped.
“I’ve got absolutely no worries that he’ll be raring to go,” Australia coach Justin Langer told reporters on Tuesday. “There was a little concern for about two seconds, but then he saw the doctor and he’s hitting balls again.
“We know how well he’s playing at the moment, we know how much all the boys love playing test cricket and Boxing Day cricket ... so he’ll be ready to go.”
Warner faced about 45 minutes of throw-downs on Tuesday, according to local media reports, although he did appear at times to be in pain and took his hand off the bat.
Langer added that fast bowler James Pattinson would almost certainly make his first test appearance in Australia in almost four years for the injured Josh Hazlewood, who sustained a hamstring injury in the 296-run first test victory in Perth.
“I’ve said it all week, he (Pattinson) was the 12th man the last game, we try to be as consistent as possible,” Langer said.
“We’ve got some great depth of talent there, we’ve got Michael Neser here, we’ve got Peter Siddle, James Pattinson so I think at this stage, Patto will probably get one of the nods.”
While the 29-year-old was likely to partner Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins for his first test in Australia since January 2016, Langer said they were still working through their final playing selections.
Langer mooted last week selecting five specialist bowlers with the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) pitch favouring batsmen in the previous two years, but said on Tuesday finalising the starting eleven could be a match-day decision.
“We’ll work out what the set-up of our team is going to be, whether we play ... an extra bowler or not,” he said.
“We’ll have a look at the wicket. The wicket looks pretty good at the moment two days out.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Christopher Cushing
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