Sydney: Promising Australian fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson, both 21, look all set to be in the team that will play India in the Boxing Day Test match.
Injuries have ravaged the Australian team this season and the latest news of teenage sensation Patrick Cummins being ruled out for the summer with a foot injury has made an already bad situation worse.
Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger and Shane Watson are all running against the clock to be fit for the series against India.
Left-handed Starc who took 2-90 and 0-33 at the Gabba against New Zealand showed great variety and seems to be a long-term replacement for Mitchell Johnson, though he was completely overshadowed by Pattinson who captured a five-wicket haul in the second innings with fast, late away swing on debut.
"Obviously Mitch (Johnson) is out for a little bit of time and Dougy's still coming back from injury so, as a left-armer, there's that bit of variety," Starc was quoted saying by the Australian.
"It does open a door for me, I guess, and hopefully I can take that opportunity."
"Obviously guys will be coming back from injury at some point, so I think I'm just going to prepare to play every game. If I don't get picked, I don't get picked, but if I get picked I'm ready to play," he added.
India too are not fairing well in the fitness front. Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan is fighting to be fit for the crucial series Down Under while swing bowler Praveen Kumar has already been ruled out due to a fractured rib.
India,too, will be heading to Australia with new faces on board with the likes of fast bowlers Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Abhimanyu Mithun all yet to be tested in foreign conditions.