Australia's wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is believed to have suffered an injury to the AC joint in his right shoulder after landing awkwardly while diving for a catch on the second day in Abu Dhabi. The extent of Haddin's injury is not yet known as he has not had scans, but it is a worrying sign so close to the home Test summer, which begins on December 4 with the first of four Tests against India.
Haddin was clearly in discomfort when he returned to the field after lunch to relieve temporary gloveman David Warner. Although Haddin intends to bat in Australia's first innings said he expected it would be uncomfortable.
"We believe Brad has injured his AC joint after falling on it," team doctor Peter Brukner said. "He will have treatment overnight and we are confident he will be able to bat."
The problem arose when he dived for a catch off Younis Khan's edge from Peter Siddle in the sixth over of the day. The ball fell short of his right glove, but while diving he jarred his right shoulder and immediately after getting up he clutched it and asked for medical treatment.
He remained on the field keeping wicket for another 15 deliveries before handing the gloves to Warner and leaving the field for treatment. Although Haddin was able to return to wicketkeeping duties after lunch, he was not at his most nimble. When the third new ball was taken late in the afternoon, he again passed the gloves to Warner as he was not confident he would be able to handle the extra bounce.
"I dived for a catch and hurt my shoulder. I think I'll be fine to bat, I don't think there'll be a drama. It'll be uncomfortable but I think I'll be fine," Haddin said after play. "I haven't gone for a scan. As you guys know, scans only rule you out, not in. I know enough about not going for a scan. It's uncomfortable. With the new ball I didn't think I'd get my arms up quick enough."
It did not take long for the loss of their wicketkeeper to cost Australia; from the seventh ball with Warner behind the stumps, he missed a stumping when Nathan Lyon got one to turn sharply and beat Younis, who by then had 125. But in the next over, Warner thrilled his team-mates by taking an excellent leg-side catch off the bowling of Mitchell Starc to remove Azhar Ali for 109.
Australia do not have a backup wicketkeeper in their squad and although reserve batsman Phillip Hughes has performed the job before, the laws of the game state that a substitute fielder may not act as wicketkeeper in any circumstance. Haddin's reluctance to burden Warner ahead of an important batting innings was a major factor in his decision to return to the field after lunch, following initial treatment including having his shoulder iced.
"It was my decision to go back out," Haddin said. "I had to also think of Davey opening the batting, I didn't want him to have to keep the whole time and then have to come in to bat. I wanted to see how I'd go and basically make sure he had the best preparation he could to open the batting. That was a big part of the reason why I went back out. I didn't want him to have to do it and then come in and bat a day and a half."
Although Haddin was able to perform adequately behind the stumps after suffering the injury, he still appeared to be favouring his right shoulder, holding it close to his body between deliveries and overs, and preferred using his left to under-arm the ball to the fielders. There were also a couple of moments when he instinctively threw his right hand up to appeal, only to immediately clutch it in pain.
"It was like mice getting tested wasn't it, with the buzzer," he joked. "Yeah, it hurt. That was just reaction."
Although Haddin intends to play out the Abu Dhabi Test it is unclear whether the injury will rule him out of matches when he returns home to Australia. Cricket Australia had already announced that he would be rested from the first two ODIs against South Africa, with Matthew Wade recalled to the side, and it would not be a surprise if Wade retained the job for the whole series.