Ankle injury puts Wade in doubt for third Test
Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is in doubt for the third Test after hurting his ankle while playing basketball in Chandigarh on Saturday. Brad Haddin has been placed on standby for Wade and is a strong chance to fly to India, pending the result of scans on Sunday morning, four days before the start of the Test.
"Matt Wade sprained his right ankle playing basketball yesterday afternoon," Australia physio Alex Kountouris said. "His ankle is subsequently swollen and painful so will have a scan this morning to help determine the extent of the injury and how we manage it. He will not take part in today's training session."
This is the second consecutive Test in which there has been doubt surrounding Wade's fitness, after he suffered a minor fracture to his cheek while facing throwdowns in the nets on the eve of the second Test in Hyderabad. Wade played that match and scored 62 in the first innings batting at No.6, which has been his position since the final Test of the home summer.
There was no backup wicketkeeper in the group in the lead-up to the second Test and Phillip Hughes, who has occasionally stood in at state and international level, was in line to take the gloves had Wade been ruled out. But the longer break ahead of the third Test means there will be plenty of time to fly Haddin to India if required.
Haddin has played four Tests in India, all during the 2008 tour, and scored 163 at an average of 27.16. However, he has been in strong Sheffield Shield form this summer and has made 468 runs at 52 including two centuries. Haddin has not played a Test since the end of the home series against India in January 2012; Wade became the preferred gloveman in all formats on the West Indies tour later that year.
Both Wade and Haddin are likely to be part of the squad for the Ashes tour but if Haddin was to play in India and succeed with the bat and gloves it could raise questions over the first-choice man for the start of the Ashes. Wade has performed well with the bat at Test level, scoring a century at No.6 in the Sydney Test against Sri Lanka, but his glovework has been shaky at times.
"I don't know the extent of the injury but with Matty I definitely think he's a chance of carrying it through if it's only something minor," the allrounder Moises Henriques said on Sunday morning. "I haven't seen him since it happened. He won't be training with us [today], but he's as tough a little character as there is, so if there's a chance of him playing he certainly will."
The Australians arrived in Chandigarh on Thursday but the players have had two days off since following their innings defeat in Hyderabad. The squad will train at the Mohali ground for the first time on Sunday.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here