Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes has been ruled out of the remainder of the women's multi-format series with India because of a hamstring injury.
Haynes suffered the injury in an innocuous incident while fielding a ball during the third ODI in Mackay. She ran in to gather a ball without great intensity but pulled up lame and left the field almost immediately.
Australia coach Matthew Mott confirmed on Tuesday that Haynes would miss the pink-ball Test match, which begins on Thursday, and the three T20Is.
"Rachael Haynes, unfortunately, the hamstring is no good," Mott said. "It was pretty tough last night. I had dinner with her last night. She's devastated, obviously, these Test matches don't come around too often. She's a key member of our squad. Our thoughts are with her at the moment."
Haynes will remain with the squad for the opening day of the Test match but will then return home to Sydney to spend time with her partner as they expect the birth of their first child.
Haynes' absence leaves a hole in the top order. She has opened in five of her nine Test innings and looked set to partner Alyssa Healy at the top of the order, although Haynes' two Test half-centuries, scores of 87 and 98, have come batting at Nos. 5 and 7, respectively.
Beth Mooney appears the obvious replacement having opened in Australia's previous day-night Test in 2017, although Australia also have Queensland opener Georgia Redmayne in the squad. Mooney also left the field during Sunday's ODI with hamstring awareness after scores of 125 not out and 52 inside three days. But Mott said it was just a precaution and he was confident his in-form left-hander would be available.
"Beth is pretty good," Mott said. "She was very sensible the other day. She felt something and with all the workload that she has been under, we felt that even after that hundred and the quick turnaround she was a high risk. And she flagged it quite early and I think the medical staff are very comfortable with where she is at. She'll train today and I expect she will have a pretty light day tomorrow and be ready for the Test."
Mott flagged that he will have few debutants on Thursday. One of them could be legspinner Georgia Wareham provided she can recover from the quad injury she suffered in the second ODI. Like Haynes, she suffered the problem while fielding and did not bowl in the game before missing out on the third ODI.
"Georgia is ticking all the boxes for her return to play," Mott said. "Once again, very sensible around that, she felt something quite early, got treatment on it, and has been doing everything she can to be right. Personally, I really hope she gets through it after the disappointment of missing out on the last Test we played. She's a key member. No matter what the wicket serves up, she's a wicket-taker, and she's an incredibly good thing for this team. I think she leads the way in the field, and her batting is evolving all the time. So hopefully, she gets the opportunity. As I said, she's done everything she can in her power to be ready."
Wareham missed out on Australia's last Test match at Taunton against England in 2019. But Australia will need another spinner to work in tandem with Sophie Molineux. Jess Jonassen is unavailable due to injury having bowled 75 overs in Australia's previous three Test bowling innings, while legspinner Amanda Jade-Wellington, who was not selected in the squad, bowled 57 overs in Australia's only other day-night Test. They also have Ashleigh Gardner who bowled 18 overs of offspin in Taunton.
Australia could unleash one or two of their teenaged fast bowlers in Stella Campbell and Darcie Brown after seeing some live grass on the drop-in Metricon Stadium surface this afternoon.
"It looks really good," Mott said.
"One of the things we were hoping for is grass and there is plenty of grass on it, so that's exciting for everyone, for both teams, I guess. It is a couple of days out, obviously. I think [the curator] will give it a shave before the Test match actually starts. But it's a good sign. I think in the last couple of years in women's Tests, all the coaches have been asking for pace in the wicket and grass on it. So it's going to be a fantastic surface for both teams."
The weather could also play a factor with thunderstorms forecast for the first two days on the Gold Coast, but the weather is of minor concern compared with the Covid-19 outbreak that happened in Queensland on Tuesday. Queensland recorded four new locally acquired Covid-19 infections after 50 days with a single local case in the community. The outbreak forced the postponement of the men's Sheffield Shield clash in Brisbane between Queensland and Tasmania.
"One of the things we were hoping for is grass and there is plenty of grass on it, so that's exciting for everyone."Matthew Mott, Australia head coach
Gold Coast is an hour south of Brisbane and can be classed as a separate region if firmer government restrictions do come into play in Brisbane. At present, the Test will go ahead as scheduled, but there may be restrictions placed on crowds. Mott said the players and staff would simply prepare as normal.
"Yeah, I think we're all concerned for our families and friends throughout Queensland about the impact of it all," Mott said. "But to be honest, it doesn't change a lot of what we do inside here. I think it's business as usual. We've been on a heightened level of risk for a while anyway and been in small groups. We've been managing all our protocols really well, so our day-to-day won't change a hell of a lot. Obviously, it will potentially impact the ability to have crowds here which will be disappointing."
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo