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West Indies have been dealt another heavy blow on an already difficult tour, with confirmation senior paceman Jerome Taylor has been ruled out for the remainder of the series with a back strain. Clyde Butts, West Indies' chairman of selectors, said Taylor would be sent home from Australia with a decision on his replacement to be made on Tuesday.
Even if a fast bowler is called into the squad in place of Taylor, there is little chance he will be ready for the second Test in Adelaide, beginning on Friday, due to flight time and acclimatisation. That will leave the tourists with a highly inexperienced attack for a match that could decide the fate of the Frank Worrell Trophy.
"It is my understanding [Taylor] is coming back home," Butts told Cricinfo. "We haven't made a decision yet [about his replacement] but we should know more by tomorrow."
Taylor managed just nine overs at the Gabba before leaving the field with soreness in his left hip. He was unable to resume his place in the bowling line-up on the second day, leaving rookies Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul to shoulder the fast-bowling duties along with allrounder Dwayne Bravo. Scans subsequently revealed a lower back strain.
Taylor's withdrawal is the latest setback to hit West Indies on a tour that is lurching towards disaster. Chris Gayle's interrupted preparation, Ramnaresh Sarwan's back injury and a crushing innings defeat at the Gabba have given touring supporters little cause for cheer. West Indies' losing streak in Australia now stands at nine Tests, dating back to 1997. They have lost 15 of their last 17 matches to the Australians home and abroad.
Gavin Tonge, the uncapped paceman from Antigua, was considered an unlucky omission for the Brisbane Test and is favoured to make his debut in Adelaide. Hopes of Fidel Edwards making a return to the squad appear remote, with the region's premier fast bowler currently without a central contract after defying the medical advice of his board to play in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament for his IPL franchise, Deccan Chargers. He aggravated a back injury during the tournament. "It is my understanding he is still not available," Butts said.
West Indies did receive some good news over the weekend, with Sarwan reporting good progress in his recovery from the back injury that sidelined him from the Brisbane Test. Team sources are confident the veteran batsman will be available to play in Adelaide.