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McGrath out of fifth Test

By Will Swanton 30/12/2002 10:45:42 PM Comments (0)

Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath is a shock withdrawal from this week's fifth Ashes Test against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground because of a side strain.

West Australian paceman Brad Williams will join Australia's suddenly injury-struck squad as Steve Waugh's men attempt to secure the first 5-0 Ashes clean sweep since 1920-21.

McGrath joins batsman Darren Lehmann and leg spinner Shane Warne on the injured list.

Lehmann is recovering from a severe infection in his right leg while Warne will miss the rest of the Australian summer because of a dislocated shoulder.

McGrath's disappointment at missing his hometown Test is compounded by the fact he will be on the sidelines when his skipper and good friend Waugh plays what may be his last Test in Australia.

McGrath expressed disappointment at ending his run of 54 consecutive Tests, stretching back to the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in October, 1998.

"I knew I was a chance of not playing but once you find out you won't play it hits you harder than you realise," McGrath said in a statement.

"I guess it's a question of looking at the bigger picture as I did something similar in 1992, played on with it, and reckon I was eventually sidelined for three or four months.

"It's now a case of getting things right for the rest of the summer as we've plenty of cricket left to play.

"I've always prided myself on my longevity and I would have liked to have played more Tests in a row but the number of successive matches I've managed isn't bad for a fast bowler and to play one match for Australia is a huge honour."

Western Australian fast bowler Brad Williams has been drafted into the squad for the Sydney Test, starting on January 2.

McGrath suffered the injury to his left side during the fourth day of the fourth Test in Melbourne on Sunday and was unable to take the field after tea.

Australian team physiotherapist Errol Alcott said it was prudent for McGrath to miss the next Test match.

"It is a soft tissue injury and we are confident it will resolve over the short term," Alcott said in a statement.

McGrath's fitness will be reviewed at the end of the fifth Test with a view to his availability for the resumption of the one-day series on January 9, when Australia takes on Sri Lanka in Sydney.

Williams will be replaced in the Australia A squad for matches against Sri Lanka on January 1 and 7 in Adelaide by NSW left-arm fast bowler Nathan Bracken.

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