Pattinson ruled out for Test summer
Pain from an unusual side and rib injury that has ruled James Pattinson out for the rest of the Test summer was so acute that Ricky Ponting revealed the 22-year-old fast bowler "could hardly breathe" after bowling on the third day in Adelaide.
As had been widely feared on Saturday, the results of scans have confirmed that Pattinson will miss a large chunk of the home Tests for the second consecutive summer, having suffered a serious foot injury in January during the series against India. Australia's players worried for Pattinson's welfare when he left the field after bowling seven deliveries with the second new ball.
In customary manner for a fast bowler, Pattinson felt the severe pain during his first over with the new ball but ignored it in the hope that he would be able to keep going, but the first ball of his second over will be the final one he delivers in Tests this summer, meaning he will miss the series decider against South Africa in Perth and the series against Sri Lanka, starting in Hobart on December 14.
"He was in a fair bit of pain," Ponting told Channel Nine. "I spoke to him after the first over he bowled and he could hardly breathe, so he is in a fair bit of trouble."
Precisely how much trouble was quantified by the team physio Alex Kountouris, who noted that the injury extended beyond the common side strain or tear to include rib damage. This may well extend Pattinson's recovery period, leaving the selectors to ponder how to get him fit in time for Australia's major Test match assignments of 2013 in India and England.
"James Pattinson sustained a left lower rib injury, similar to a 'side strain' on day three of the Test which will effectively rule him out of contention for the remaining Tests this summer," Kountouris said. "Whilst side strains are not uncommon in bowlers, James' injury involves some damage to the end of the rib and will need further investigation at the completion of this Test to determine the best course of management and the time frame to return to bowling."
Peter Siddle, who enjoyed an uncannily similar lead-in to the Tests that featured four Sheffield Shield appearances for Victoria and no Twenty20 matches, said he was unsure what else could have been done for Pattinson to avoid breaking down with major injury for the third time this year.
"All the plan was for red ball cricket and get ready for the Tests," Siddle said. "I think it's just part of cricket, there's a lot of talk about too much work or not enough work but I think his plan was perfect. It was no different to mine, he bowled a few more overs than me in the Shield games, but he was all primed.
'He was bowling well, his figures showed that in the Shield games, he was in exceptional forms. It's just one of those things, Test cricket, he bowled a lot of overs up in Brisbane and he's worked hard, and it's just hard work, it is tough to get through and get the body right and challenge yourself to push through. He's broken down but we all know he's a strong character and a tough competitor.
"There's been a lot of injuries around but he pushes through and get through. He's just disappointed he can't get out there now and help back us up and have a crack. It is a disappointing time for him, but he's upbeat, he just knows he's got to keep working towards getting that body right, getting back in the team and performing well. He'll come back strong."
Siddle himself admitted that he was feeling the effects of numerous long spells in Brisbane and Adelaide, with much still to be done by both he and Hilfenhaus on the final day. "My body's been better, a big first Test and a short turnaround between innings here," he said. "It's hard work, but there's always that carrot at the end of tomorrow afternoon.
"It's a part of Test cricket, that's the reason we play it, and we like that challenge. If we didn't like that challenge we wouldn't be playing, so that's the start of it, you just pick the ball and charge in and do what we do best - bowling overs. We'll keep doing that for the captain and the rest of the boys."
Pattinson was able to bat on day four, making a brave unbeaten 29, but his exit from the series means Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood are likely to come into contention for a bowling berth in the third Test at the WACA ground. The South Australia left-armer Gary Putland has also caught the eye with a 10-wicket haul for the Redbacks against Victoria at the MCG.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here