England have added Sam Billings to their Ashes squad as a back-up wicketkeeper for the fifth and final Test in Hobart.
Billings has been drafted as cover for the injured Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Friday evening.
Buttler suffered a blow on his left hand’s index finger during the ongoing fourth Test in Sydney on Thursday, while Bairstow batted through pain en route to his gritty hundred after being hit on the thumb by a Pat Cummins delivery on Friday morning.
When questioned about the extent of his injury, Bairstow said: “I don’t know as yet… I’ll know some more information tomorrow. I’m not sure about the keeping side of things. But from a batting point of view, I’ll be out there in the morning.”
Meanwhile, Billings was set to fly back to the UK on Thursday before England’s T20I series against West Indies later this month but will now join his national team in Sydney, subject to a period of isolation and a negative Covid-19 Test.
Billings averages 34.29 in first-class cricket and has played 58 white-ball matches for England. He is likely to make his Test debut in Hobart by replacing either of the two injured wicketkeeper-batters.