New Delhi:Australia were dealt a severe blow ahead of the third one-day international against India here after the pace duo of Brett Lee and James Hopes were ruled out of the match, failing to recover from their injuries.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting said both Lee and Hopes have been rested to give them enough time to be fit for the fourth game of the seven-match series in Mohali on November 3.
"Both the guys (Lee and Hopes) are not playing tomorrow".
Lee had a light training on Saturday and he looks 85 per cent fine but there is still some pain in his elbow," Ponting told reporters after Australia's training session here today.
"He (Hopes) got through his bowling today but we have our fingers crossed. We hope he will be ok for Mohali after sitting out tomorrow," he said.
Both Lee and Hopes sustained injuries during the series opener in Vadodara on Sunday and have missed the second match in Nagpur, which Australia lost by 99 runs.
While Lee is suffering from an elbow injury, Hopes has strained his right hamstring during the first ODI.
To add to Australia's woes, wicket-keeper Tim Paine was ruled out for the remainder of the series after he broke his right hand finger during the second game, forcing the visitors to call in back-ups in Moises Henriques and Graham Manou.
The Aussie skipper, however, refused to divulge any details on tomorrow's playing eleven.
"We have not decided the side yet. But it's a big step forward for him (Henriques) to step upto international cricket. Our team keeps changing and it's a great opportunity for the youngster.
"Graham (Manou) will arrive this afternoon. He has some international experience having played a few Test matches and also in Ashes," Ponting said.
The newly-laid Feroz Shah Kotla wicket came up for sharp criticism during the Champions League for its slow pace and Ponting too expects a low-scoring encounter on Sunday.
"It will be little slow and low as we have seen during the Champions League. It will be pretty hard for the batsmen.
"It will be harder to score runs and I guess the total will be less than the first two matches. Whichever team adapts better will win," said the right-handed batsman.
Ponting's decision to field first in the second one-dayer came as a surprise as Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian batting line-up made merry against a depleted Australian attack to pile up 354 runs.
"I think the wicket will spin quite a bit. There will be little margin for error. We have two spin option in Jon Holland and Nathan Hauritz but we will finalise the squad tomorrow. I am looking for more impact from the pacers," Ponting said.
Ponting said the team missed Lee badly during the death overs in Nagpur.
"We missed Brett (Lee) in Nagpur. Brett is one guy who bowls so well at death but when you have Dhoni in the end, you got to concede extra runs. We all know how dangerous he is," he said.
He also lavished praise on pacer Mitchell Johnson, saying the left-hander has it in him to become an all-rounder in all versions of the game.
"Australia has found a new all-rounder in Mitch (Johnson). He has definitely got the potential to be an all-rounder in all three formats," Ponting said.
"In recent time, his batting has come up in Tests and we are not worried about his bowling. After all, he is the International Player of the Year. The more he plays the better he will become," he said.
The Australian captain also rejected suggestions that the big win in Nagpur has shifted the momentum in India's favour.
"I am not a great believer in momentum. Things change too quickly in every match," Ponting said.