Jos Buttler has been ruled out of the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart due to a fractured left index finger. He will fly back to the United Kingdom and will be assessed by the ECB medical team on his return. Meanwhile, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes’s respective injuries – right thumb and left side strain – will be assessed in the next few days in order to ascertain their fitness for the last Test.
Buttler sustained the injury during Australia’s first innings of the fourth Test in Sydney, with Ollie Pope taking over the wicketkeeping duties in the second innings. Buttler, though, did bat in the second innings, scoring 11 off 38 balls. The wicketkeeper-batter had a disappointing Ashes series, finishing with 107 runs at an average of just over 15.
“Buttler is going home after this game, it’s quite a bad injury. Real disappointment and shame to not have him at Hobart. The way he stood up for the team shows his character,” Joe Root said in the post-match presentation after England scripted a thrilling draw at the SCG.
Sam Billings, who has played 25 ODIs and 33 T20Is, looks set to make his Test debut and take over the wicketkeeping role, especially in the backdrop of Bairstow also struggling with an injury problem. The Kent cricketer, who played for Sydney Thunder in the 2021-22 BBL, also cleared a PCR test after his arrival in Sydney. He is presently in isolation in the team hotel and is set to take another PCR test.
“Sam Billings had a negative PCR test following his arrival into Sydney yesterday. He is currently isolating in the team hotel. He will have one additional PCR test before bridging into the main group. Subject to receiving a negative test, he will fly to Hobart with the main party,” ECB’s media release said.
The fifth and final Test of the series will start in Hobart from January 14.