3 Nov 2012

Aussies in disarray ahead of test summer

11:17 am on 3 November 2012

The Australian cricket team's preparations for the test summer ahead have taken major hits in the past 24 hours.

With the top-ranked South Africans cruising towards next week's first test at the Gabba, Michael Clarke's team are sporting a host of concerns, most particularly with their batting.

The Australian top seven have all endured Sheffield Shield failures in their final warm-up.

While there are no concerns about Ricky Ponting's form after he scored 327 runs without being dismissed in back-to-back first class matches, there are some surrounding his fitness.

The 37-year-old has been withdrawn from the last three days of action in Hobart as a precaution for a hamstring injury.

On the bowling front teenager Pat Cummins, who was hoping to make an impact in the test arena, was ruled out for a second consecutive test summer after being diagnosed stress fractures in his lower back.