Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Melbourne December 19, 2005

Langer ruled out of Melbourne Test

Cricinfo staff
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Justin Langer has his hamstring tested by Errol Alcott © Getty Images

Justin Langer is only a "50-50" chance of playing in the third Test against South Africa after suffering a grade one hamstring tear in the opening match at Perth. Langer was today ruled out of next week's Boxing Day Test at the MCG, leaving the selectors with a difficult set of decisions.

Michael Hussey, who filled in during two matches against West Indies when Langer had a fractured rib, could be shifted back to his preferred position as opener, which would allow a space for Michael Clarke to return. However, Phil Jaques, the New South Wales opener, is in fabulous form after hitting 158 in a one-day game against South Australia on Sunday to add to his 400 Pura Cup runs this summer. The poor form of Andrew Symonds as the team's allrounder - he reached a career-best 25 in his fifth Test - could also create a middle-order vacancy and the second-Test team will be named on Tuesday afternoon.

Jaques told AAP he was ready for a possible promotion. "You never know until you actually get there, but I'm in some good form at the moment and I'd like to take the chance if I got a chance," he said. "If I got the opportunity I'd take it with both hands and enjoy every minute of it."

Errol Alcott, the Australia physiotherapist, said Langer would travel with the team to have treatment in Melbourne and rated him a "50-50" prospect for the match in Sydney starting on January 2. "Having missed the first two Tests this summer with a broken rib, I am bitterly disappointed at suffering another injury which will keep me sidelined," Langer said. Langer injured his left leg in the second innings and needed Matthew Hayden as a runner for the closing stages of his 47.