England received a major blow on Sunday after wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler got ruled out of the fifth and the final Ashes Test against Australia. The 31-year-old suffered a hand injury during the drawn fourth Test in Sydney and will now fly home.
As Buttler’s cover, the visitors have added Sam Billings to their squad. The Kent cricketer is to make his Test debut in the day-night match in Hobart, starting on Friday. Billings drove from the Gold Coast to Sydney to join the England squad.
Despite the injury, Buttler faced 38 balls for 11 runs during 45 minutes at the crease during the second innings. He was out for a duck in the first innings.
England are also sweating over the availability of Ben Stokes who played in Sydney with a side strain and laid the foundation of the draw. The question also looms over Jonny Bairstow who got a blow on his thumb while batting in the first innings where he scored a century.
With Buttler and Bairstow injured, Ollie Pope was added to the squad in the host’s second innings.
On Sunday, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad and then Jimmy Anderson batted out the final 10 overs under immense pressure, after Pat Cummins and Scott Boland took three quick wickets in the final session before Steve Smith removed Leach with two overs remaining to set up a nervous finale to a gripping test match.
At stumps, England finished 270-9 with Broad unbeaten on eight and Anderson not out on zero to give England its best result of the five-match series which Australia leads 3-0.