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MELBOURNE: Fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have been ruled out of Australia’s Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates after failing to recover from injuries, further depleting an already inexperienced side.

Both players missed the recent one-series against England as their struggle to get over lumbar bone stress issues.

Neither has played since Australia’s scandal-plagued tour of South Africa earlier this year, which saw skipper Steve Smith and opener David Warner banned for a year over a ball-tampering incident.

But Mitchell Starc, who also missed the England tour, is back training and on track for the first Test against Pakistan, scheduled for October.

With Cummins and Hazlewood still recovering from their lumbar bone stress injuries, much sting has been taken out of the attack of the Tim Paine-led squad.

“Pat and Josh are progressing well from their lumbar bone stress injuries but are not bowling, so unfortunately they will not be at the level required for Test match intensity come October,” team physiotherapist David Beakley said in a statement.

“Barring any setbacks, we are hopeful that Pat and Josh will return via the back-end of the domestic one-day cup, with the aim of them being available for the ODI Series against South Africa in November as they build towards the Indian Test series.

“[But] on a positive note Mitchell Starc is back to unrestricted training and remains on track for the Test series against Pakistan,” Beakley said.

Australia are scheduled to play two Tests and three One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International against Pakistan in the UAE.

Australia then host South Africa in the first one-dayer of the three-match series in Perth on Nov 4 before hosting India for three Twenty20 Internationals, four Tests and three ODIs.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2018