Hobart – Australia captain Michael Clarke is doubtful for the second Test against Sri Lanka after retiring injured with a hamstring problem on the fourth day of the opening match of the series, coach Mickey Arthur said on Monday.
The 31-year-old Clarke has had a brilliant year with the bat, scoring four double centuries and more runs than any other batsman in test cricket with 1,489 at an average of 106.4.
Clarke looked ashen faced as he left the Bellerive Oval with team physio Alex Kountouris on Monday evening, however, despite his 57 helping Australia set the Sri Lankans an imposing 393 for victory.
While Arthur was convinced Clarke would be fielding on Tuesday's fifth and final day in Hobart, he thought it a “distinct possibility” that Shane Watson would be captaining the side in the second test in Melbourne on December 26.
“He's going off for an MRI scan,” the South African said. “He's done something to his hamstring and we'll know the extent of that tomorrow.
“He'll get all the treatment he needs,” he added. “He'll certainly get that tonight and he'll get that tomorrow and between breaks... I think you'll have to cut Michael's leg off from him not to be out there.
“He certainly wants to marshal the troops and I think he certainly wants to be there if hopefully sometime tomorrow we can clinch a win.”
Arthur also confirmed that fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus would miss the Melbourne Test after breaking down with a side strain on Sunday.
“He is certainly not a starter for the Boxing Day Test and we'll see after that,” he said.
With a string of other quick bowlers sidelined through injury, Mitchell Johnson is likely to take Hilfenhaus's place in Melbourne.
Arthur suggested that former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, Rob Quiney, Usman Khawaja and the uncapped Alex Doolan would be in the frame if Clarke was not able to play in the second Test of the three-match series in Melbourne.
Sri Lanka will resume their second innings on 65-2 when the final day's play starts on Tuesday. – Reuters