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Australian squad in ‘quarantine’

Hobart: Australia have put their squad into “quarantine” before next week’s second Test against Sri Lanka to make absolutely certain there are no additions to their already lengthy casualty list, according to coach Mickey Arthur.

Captain Michael Clarke and pace bowler Ben Hilfenhaus were injured in the first of the three matches against Sri Lanka, which Australia won by 137 runs in a dramatic climax at the Bellerive Oval on Tuesday.

Clarke and Arthur are confident the captain will recover from his hamstring injury for the Melbourne Test, which begins on Dec. 26, but Tasmanian Hilfenhaus's side strain means he will miss out.

“I know I’m in great hands with (team physio) Alex (Kountouris) and I know how great a physio he is,” said Clarke, who reclaimed the top spot in the ICC Test batsman rankings released on Tuesday.

Mitchell Johnson, who should replace Hilfenhaus in the starting line-up, and Usman Khawaja, brought in as backup for Clarke, were withdrawn from matches in the domestic T20 league when they were called up to the Test squad.

“That’s always going to be a conundrum for us, who do we play? Who don’t we play?” Arthur said.

“We feel the Test match on Boxing Day is massively important, we want to quarantine the 13 players. We’re sitting with enough injuries as it is. We just think it’s in the best interests of those 13 players to get ready for Boxing Day.”

Hilfenhaus joins young quick bowlers Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and John Hazlewood in the treatment room, resulting in Tasmanian paceman Jackson Bird getting his first call-up. (Agencies)