Australia hit by new McGrath injury as tension rises in ranks

The 35-year-old, who limped into the third Test but still took his tally of wickets to 16 in the two Ashes matches he has played, had a scan last night to assess the seriousness of an injury to his right elbow.

McGrath had a truncated role in training yesterday, but that initially appeared just to be the prerogative of the senior bowler. However, it then became clear that the man who has carried Australia's pace attack for a decade was in danger of missing the potentially decisive fourth npower Test, which starts here tomorrow.

The Australians had already one change in their bowling line-up with Shaun Tait selected ahead of Michael Kasprowicz to replace Jason Gillespie.

Australia's captain Ricky Ponting said Tait "might go for a few but has out-and-out wicket-taking ability".

Nowhere was the tension more apparent than in the Australian nets, where Tait, their aggressive young fast bowler, was involved in a altercation with the tourists' batsman, Justin Langer.

Tait, 22, struck Langer a painful blow with a pacy delivery. It was a shortish ball that caught the left-hander somewhere in his mid-section and dropped him to his knees in agony.

It looked serious enough to prompt the Australia coach, John Buchanan, to run 20 yards across the outfield to check on Langer. The batsman got to his feet, indicated he did not need treatment, then said something unprintable to Tait. Tait replied testily: "I'm not trying to pin you."

Langer, perhaps with his pride bruised too, had just been bowled by a very fast Tait delivery that swung back into him and hit off stump and the young quickie caught Langer again on a different part of his anatomy, prompting another curse.

With the series beautifully poised at one victory apiece (with one match drawn) Shane Warne was quick in pointing out that the Australians needed only to win one of the two remaining Tests to retain the Ashes. The pressure, he said, "is on England".

The England fast bowler Simon Jones wasted no time in rejecting that view. "We don't see how the pressure can be on us," he said. "We've been playing better cricket in the last two Tests."

Jones predicted that Matthew Hoggard, who has not had a big impact on the series so far, would play a significant part at Trent Bridge, a ground that traditionally favours swing bowlers. "It normally swings up here because of the atmosphere and the Trent [river] not far away," Jones said. "I think Hoggy will come into his own here.

"We bowl as a group. It's a great attack. We have got three 90-mph bowlers and there are not many sides who can boast that, and Hoggy swings it miles."

Warne admitted that a stiff back forced him to pull out of training yesterday, but insisted he would be fine tomorrow. As to who should replace Gillespie, Warne favours Tait's pace against the control of Kasprowicz. "Here you have a kid who is bursting at the seams and hitting blokes on the head left, right and centre," he said.

Tait, who is a 90mph plus bowler, later shook hands and had a conciliatory hug with Langer.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?