Australian team physio Alex Kountouris says the injury to Ben Hilfenhaus is not as severe as the one that ruled James Pattinson out of the Test summer.
Hilfenhaus suffered a side strain while bowling in the first session on the third day of Australia's match against Sri Lanka in Hobart and the Tasmanian is unlikely to be fit for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne later this month.
Fellow paceman Peter Siddle (5-54) picked up the slack for the absent Hilfenhaus as Australia secured a 114-run first innings lead against Sri Lanka, but may be without the services of the injured 29-year-old later in the match according to Kountouris.
"Ben's got a side injury, almost a typical fast bowler's injury where they get these little side strains," Kountouris said.
"We'll see what he's like tomorrow in terms of what participation he has in this game, but it's looking doubtful he'll be able to bowl in the rest of the game."
With that in mind, Siddle and the rest of the Australian bowling group will have to bear a heavy second-innings workload.
But if they can repeat the disciplined performance that saw wickets tumble after the 161-run partnership between Tillakaratne Dilshan (147) and Angelo Mathews (75), Australia may still feel confident of winning the Test.
"I think after lunch, the way we came out and attacked and bowled the way we wanted to, bowled our partnerships, got our maidens and built the pressure. We got the rewards that were warranted for the performance we put in after lunch," Siddle said.
"I think I was in my sixth over and I'd only bowled to Dilshan, I hadn't got a chance at Angelo and no runs were getting scored… that plays on batters minds, they want the runs to be ticking over, changing ends, rotating the strike."
"It's just that reward. We always talk about it, I'm the lucky one today, I got the five-for."
Dilshan's second ton against Australia – and first on these shores – was packed with 21 boundaries, the overwhelming majority of which came through the off-side, and was the major reason Sri Lanka passed the follow-on having resumed at 4-87.
"It was a very satisfying thing, especially against a great attack, especially the first time in Australia," he said. "It was not easy with extra bounce, always a chance to bowlers. I'm really satisfied with this hundred (and) spending more time in the middle."
Australia reached stumps at 0-27 with a lead of 141, but Dilshan remained confident his side could still chase the win during the final two days.
"We'll see what sort of target they're setting for us (in the second innings). First thing before the target we can bowl in the morning (and) with a couple of wickets put some pressure on the Australian side."
First Posted 16 December, 2012 9:20PM AEST