NPL Sports, 25th Jan: England’s hopes of securing a historic whitewash against Australia have been dealt a blow with the confirmation that Liam Plunkett has been ruled out of the final two matches.
Having already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, Eoin Morgan’s attentions have now turned to the possibility of inflicting a first-ever one-day whitewash on Australia at home.
But the tourists will have to make do without paceman Plunkett, with his hamstring injury meaning he is unlikely to return until the T20 series. Plunkett, 32, took four wickets in the first two one-day games but only delivered eight balls in the third before pulling up with a strain.
‘It was really unfortunate, Liam is going to be out for around ten days,’ Morgan said. ‘He’s going to stay with the squad for his rehabilitation.
‘He’s been a huge part of our progression over the past two years. We’re looking at the T20 series for when he will come back so there will definitely be a change for tomorrow [the fourth match in Adelaide].’
Asked whether there was talk of a whitewash in the England camp, Morgan replied: ‘No, no. Australia are a very good team, to win a series away from home is a very good achievement. ‘These two games are going to be very difficult. It will be another big challenge against a strong team.’
England are not alone in having been dealt an injury blow, however, with in-form opener Aaron Finch set to be absent at the Adelaide Oval on Australia Day because of a ‘minor right hamstring strain’.
Travis Head, Finch’s likely replacement in Steve Smith’s side, said: ‘I’ll happily bat wherever they want. I’m just happy to get another opportunity after a pretty disappointing few games.
‘Now the series is over and the pressure is out of it a little, maybe the guys can go out and find some rhythm and ways to win games of cricket.’