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Mohammad Amir suffers side strain; will bat in fourth innings

Since mid-July 2016, no fast bowler has bowled more in international cricket than Mohammad Amir Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Mohammad Amir has picked up a side strain that will limit his role in the ongoing third and final Test in Sydney to batting.

Amir pulled an intercostal muscle on his right side during pre-match training on the fourth day of the Test and was taken for a scan. He did not appear on the field at all, putting more strain on an already thin bowling attack that was then reduced to just three specialist bowlers.

That left Pakistan to open Australia's second innings with Imran Khan and Yasir Shah, David Warner taking full toll in an explosive start. Yasir himself has been suffering from a slight hamstring strain in his left leg.

Pakistan's management believe Amir will recover in time to take part in the ODI series against Australia, which begins on January 13, but concerns about the workload on him and others such as Yasir will grow.

For much of the last year, Pakistan have operated outside of the UAE with a four-man bowling attack, increasing the load on Yasir and Amir in particular. Since his return to Test cricket on July 14 last year no fast bowler has bowled as many overs in international cricket as Amir, a list otherwise dominated by spinners. The leading bowler in that time, by overs bowled, is Yasir, in Tests alone as well as across all formats.

Amir injured his knee in the first Test in Brisbane earlier in the series and though it looked serious at the time, he was back on the field and bowling within an hour. In the same Test his thigh was heavily bruised after he was hit by a Mitchell Starc delivery.

Earlier in the Test, coach Mickey Arthur acknowledged the workload his bowlers had to take on. "The guys are pretty tired, they really are," Arthur said. "Amir... he keeps going you know.

"Over the last six months or so we have played massive amount of cricket and he just keeps going and keeps going even though he has taken a lot of niggles, and he hasn't shirked his responsibilities and he keeps running for us. They are not in good shape but they have kept going."