Steve O’Keefe ruled out of series; Jon Holland named as replacement

Steve O’Keefe ruled out of series; Jon Holland named as replacement

Steve O'Keeffe
Australia’s Steve O’Keeffe celebrates the dismissal of Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

31-year old Australian left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe has been ruled out of the ongoing Sri Lanka v Australia series courtesy of a hamstring injury. In spite of returning to the team after a long hiatus from international Test cricketing action, O’Keefe was an almost guaranteed starter courtesy of the playing conditions in the Pallekele ground. O’Keefe captured three wickets before injuring his right leg while chasing a ball to the boundary shortly after the lunch interval on Day 3.

Steve O’Keefe made a futile attempt to bowl after lunch, only to hobble off after bowling just two deliveries in the over. He was subsequently replaced by Adam Voges with skipper Steve Smith sharing the departed O’Keefe’s burden with Voges.

“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,” Australia’s Bupa Support Team physiotherapist David Beakley said in Kandy today.

“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.” Even a low-grade hamstring tear is expected to take a minimum of two weeks to heal, thereby effectively ruling O’Keefe out of the series.

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Rod Marsh, the chief selector of the Australian side expressed disappointment over the injury and also announced that Jon Holland would replace the injured southpaw. Holland has been in impressive form on the domestic scene and has done wonders with the ball for his side the Victoria Bushrangers in the Sheffield Shield.

“It is incredibly disappointing for Steve to get this injury and I really feel for him,” chair of the national selection panel Rod Marsh said in Kandy today.

“He was bowling well in the Test and had caused some trouble to Sri Lanka’s top order.

“The selectors have decided to go for a like-for-like replacement for Steve, in Jon Holland.

“Jon had a good end to the Sheffield Shield season and is currently in Brisbane with Australia A as they prepare for a four-day match against South Africa A. “He will be on a plane as soon as possible and is a strong chance to make his debut in the Galle Test.”