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O'Keefe heading home from Sri Lanka tour

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016 By Will Knight

Australian spinner Stephen O'Keefe will almost certainly play no further part in the Test series against Sri Lanka after tearing his right hamstring in Kandy.

The left-armer suffered the injury while chasing a ball midway through day three of the first Test at Pallekele Stadium, with Australia's team physiotherapist David Beakley saying O'Keefe is likely to miss the next two Tests.

O'Keefe will return to Australia and fellow left-arm finger spinner, Victoria's Jon Holland, will fly out to Sri Lanka as his replacement.

"Initial assessment indicates a moderate-grade hamstring injury which means it is highly unlikely that he will be available for the remainder of the Test series," said Beakley.

"Steve will remain with the squad in Kandy until the end of the Test and will undertake imaging on the injury upon his return to Australia."

The news is a cruel blow for O'Keefe, who was set to play as Nathan Lyon's spin partner for the whole of the three-Test series on dry, spin-friendly wickets.

He bowled with good control in the first innings in taking 2-32, including the big wicket of Sri Lanka's best batsman, skipper Angelo Mathews.

The New South Welshman had fought hard to get back into the Test XI to make just his third appearance for Australia having played against Pakistan in 2014 and selected in January to take on the West Indies in Sydney.

He's also an accomplished batsman capable of making vital runs at No.8.

Holland ended the Sheffield Shield season strongly and was in Brisbane with Australia A preparing for a four-day match against South Africa A.

"He will be on a plane to Sri Lanka as soon as possible and is a strong chance to make his debut in the Galle Test," said chairman of selectors Rod Marsh.

The second Test starts next Thursday in the southern coastal city, which is regarded as the most spin-friendly of the Test venues.

Holland's call-up capped a manic few weeks for the 29-year-old who was only called into the Australia A squad after Ashton Agar injured his shoulder.

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