Australia v Sri Lanka - T20 Series: Game 5
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: Australia interim head coach Andrew McDonald looks on during game five of the T20 International Series between Australia and Sri Lanka at Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 20, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Australia v Sri Lanka - T20 Series: Game 5

Scott Boland is expected to retain his place for the first Test against South Africa.

Australian coach Andrew McDonald has revealed that Boland has the inside running on the vacant place in the bowling attack, with Josh Hazlewood still missing due to a side strain.

Hazlewood missed the second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide last week alongside Pat Cummins, who sat out with quad soreness, bringing both Boland - who was the star of last year's Ashes series - and Michael Neser into the side.

However, it would appear that Neser will be the player to make way for Cummins' return to the side, with Steve Smith to move back into his vice-captaincy role.

"Expect Scott to take that spot at the Gabba," McDonald told the media.

"That's the running line, and he's done nothing wrong."

"His record is amazing at the moment, so he'll take his place and the assumption is that Pat does play.

"So you've got Cummins, (Mitchell) Starc and Boland, with (Cameron) Green and (Nathan) Lyon to support around that."

Boland holds a remarkable bowling average in Test cricket of 10.33 with 21 wickets to his name, and will be pushing for a spot on tours to India and England after the summer comes to a full stop with the South African series.

Boland is also a chance of playing in the BBL during the second half of the summer as a replacement player, although is yet sign a contract despite interest from the Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades.

Australia kept both Neser and Lance Morris - who is yet to make his Test debut - in a 14-man squad for the first clash against South Africa.

The first Test gets underway at the Gabba on Saturday.