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August 3, 2011
Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh have been ruled out of the rest of the England Test series following injuries sustained during the second Test at Trent Bridge. A board statement said they would be out of action for four and three weeks, respectively - the final Test starts on August 18. Virat Kohli and Pragyan Ojha have been called up as their respective replacements ahead of the third Test at Edgbaston.
Yuvraj fractured his left index finger on the fourth day at Trent Bridge while facing up to a bouncer from Tim Bresnan, and the injury is expected to take four weeks to heal. Bresnan banged in Yuvraj's eleventh delivery short of a length, and it climbed fast towards the batsman's neck but the ball hit him on the index finger of the left hand and Yuvraj threw the bat away immediately, wincing in pain. He continued batting, until he was dismissed by another disconcerting bouncer from Bresnan, and later went to a hospital in neighbouring Derby. Based on the scans a decision was taken to consult a specialist in London.
Harbhajan has a Grade I abdominal muscle strain, which limited his role as a bowler in the Test match to just 13.4 overs, increasing the workload on India's seam attack. He's also been in poor form, managing only two wickets in the first two Tests.
Ojha, who was set to join Surrey for the County Championship and the CB40 one-day competition, will now instead join the Indian side. Kohli was dropped from the Test side following patchy performances on his debut Test series in the West Indies, but Yuvraj's injury gives him a second opportunity.
Harbhajan's absence will allow Ojha to tussle with legspinner Amit Mishra, who was in the original squad, for the spinner's slot in Birmingham, unless India decide to play a four-seamer attack provided Zaheer Khan is fit. An all-pace attack, however, will be weighed against India's current problems with maintaining a proper over-rate.
The injury means that Harbhajan will have to wait until later in the year to play his 100th Test. He is currently on 98 and would have reached the landmark at The Oval, the venue of the final Test of the series.
India are also waiting to see what sort of fitness and form Virender Sehwag is in. He missed the first two Tests while recovering from shoulder surgery and, having landed in London on Wednesday, is expected to join the team in time for the tour game in Northamptonshire.
It is not yet clear whether Zaheer, who suffered a hamstring injury during the Lord's Test after bowling only 13.3 overs and missed Trent Bridge, will be fit to play at Edgbaston. Gautam Gambhir - another player who missed out at Trent Bridge following an injury picked up in the first Test - is also fit to play.
India play a two-day tour game against Northamptonshire on August 5 and 6, ahead of the third Test from August 10. India trail 0-2 in the four-match series.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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