Pallekele: Australian spinner Steve O’Keefe was set to return home after injuring his hamstring during the ongoing opening Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, according to a statement on Friday.
O’Keefe, who impressed selectors with a 10-wicket haul in Australia’s only practice game in Sri Lanka, had to leave the field in the middle of his 17th over of the second innings on day three Thursday.
“Initial assessment indicates a moderate grade hamstring injury which means it is highly unlikely that he will be available for the remainder of the Test series,” Australian physiotherapist David Beakley said in the Cricket Australia statement.
“Steve will remain with the squad in Kandy until the end of the Test and will undertake imaging on the injury upon his return to Australia,” added Beakley.
Left-arm spinner Jon Holland has been called up to the Australian squad to replace O’Keefe, who picked up three wickets in the match, which looks evenly poised, before getting injured.
“It is incredibly disappointing for Steve to get this injury and I really feel for him. He was bowling well in the Test and had caused some trouble to Sri Lanka’s top order,” said Australian selector Rod Marsh.
“The selectors have decided to go for a like-for-like replacement for Steve, in Jon Holland.
“He will be on a plane as soon as possible and is a strong chance to make his debut in the Galle Test,” Marsh added.