NOT for the first time in his career, Mitchell Starc is the last man standing out of Australia's next-generation pace quartet after Josh Hazlewood suffered another injury on Wednesday.
Hazlewood's Test summer is over after becoming the latest Australian fast bowler to break down this season, joining fellow gun youngsters Pat Cummins and James Pattinson on the sidelines.
The giant New South Wales quick has been diagnosed with a foot injury that will keep him out of action for up to six weeks, ruling out any chance of him making his Test debut against Sri Lanka.
Hazlewood has reported soreness in his left foot in the same region where he suffered a stress fracture last January, and Cricket Australia, rather than run the risk of the 21-year-old doing further damage, has opted for a cautious approach.
''Because of his age and history with this type of injury, he will have a short break from bowling for a few weeks and be back playing in approximately four to six weeks,'' CA's chief medical officer Justin Paoloni said in a statement.
The injury, Hazlewood's third in as many summers, has come at a time when he looked close to breaking into Australia's Test team.
John Hastings, who pipped Hazlewood for a baggy green last week, has a back complaint which has resulted in him being ruled out by CA from playing for the Melbourne Stars in their opening Big Bash League match on Friday night.
Apart from the injuries to Hazlewood and Hastings, the Big Bash League has been struck by a series of blows on the eve of its second edition, with Test captain Michael Clarke withdrawn from Saturday's Sydney derby and Brisbane deprived of star attractions Dale Steyn and Daniel Vettori.
Clarke was scratched due to back soreness from the Sydney Thunder line-up to play the defending champions Sydney Sixers at the SCG and will be replaced by Usman Khawaja.
Vettori, the New Zealand spinner, was due to play for the Heat but is out of the tournament completely with an Achilles injury, while Ben Hilfenhaus (Hobart Hurricanes) is also sidelined this weekend.
They are unfortunate setbacks for the fledgling competition, but there is anger over the backflip of Cricket South Africa in making Steyn unavailable for the one-match appearance he was to have made for the Heat against Ricky Ponting's Hurricanes at the Gabba on Sunday.
CSA has rejected the protests of Cricket Australia to allow Steyn to honour his short-term contract, instead insisting that he return home to play in a domestic one-day semi-final for his provincial side, Cape Cobras.
South Africa has, at the last minute, withdrawn a no-objection certificate that had been sent to the Heat, leaving officials and players angry. ''We conducted all of our negotiations with Dale and his management in good faith and fulfilled all requirements that the BBL needed in order to sign him as one of our international players …'' Heat general manager Andrew Blucher said.
''Dale is also unhappy with this outcome. He was looking forward to the match, and of course has a very good relationship with our coach Darren Lehmann. He and his manager are embarrassed and upset about the way things have turned out, considering we were crystal clear with what we had communicated to Cricket South Africa.
''We would have imagined that CSA and the Cobras would have consulted and worked out the various scenarios that would have been involved. For that not to happen is quite extraordinary and highly unprofessional.''