Fast bowler James Pattinson has been ruled out of the remaining three Ashes Tests against England because of a back injury, compounding Australia's dreadful start to the series.
Cricket Australia released a statement today saying that Pattinson reported hip and back soreness on the last day of the second Ashes Test, which England won by 347 runs on Sunday with a day to spare to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
CA team doctor Peter Brukner said scans identified an early stage low back stress fracture for Pattinson, who "will commence a rehabilitation program with the aim to have him back for the Australian summer."
The 23-year-old Pattinson took five wickets as Australia lost by 14 runs in the first Test. He was less successful in the second match, taking only two wickets.
A raw and aggressive right-arm bowler, Pattinson has taken 47 wickets in 12 Tests at an average of 26 and is considered a long-term option as the Australians rebuild their bowling stocks.
Coach Darren Lehmann now has the option to recall left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, who was dropped for the second Test to make room for swing bowler Ryan Harris, or bring Jackson Bird or James Falkner into the starting XI.
The Australians lost the first Test by 14 runs and have now notched up six consecutive Test defeats, its worst losing streak since 1984.
Michael Clarke's side would equal Australia's worst ever string of Test losses with a seventh straight defeat at Manchester starting August 1.
With limited options to revamp the team and a severely underperforming batting top order, the Australians face the very real prospect of leaving England after the five-match Ashes series with its worst ever Test losing streak.