Spinner Georgia Wareham's Ashes hopes hang in the balance after suffering a potentially serious knee injury in the Melbourne Renegades' eight-wicket loss to Adelaide.
Just three months out from the Ashes, Wareham remained stricken on the ground clutching at her left knee for four minutes after going down while fielding on Wednesday afternoon.
She was able to limp from the field herself, but there were immediate fears of an ACL injury with the 22-year-old sent for scans on her knee and leg.
It comes ahead of a busy schedule for Australia's top legspinner, who would also shape as a key out for the Renegades in the WBBL if she misses much cricket.
Australia have a 50-over World Cup in New Zealand shortly after the Ashes, as well as the Commonwealth Games later in 2022.
Australia have a wealth of depth when it comes to spinners, but Wareham has been the only wrist-spinning option since claiming Amanda-Jade Wellington's spot in 2018.
Her injury added salt to the wound for the Renegades at Blundstone Arena, who were never in the contest after Sarah Coyte's 3-20 restricted them to 6-126.
The equal-leading wicket-taker in last year's tournament, Coyte is now back top of the charts again after claiming five scalps in the Strikers' opening two wins.
The former international medium-pacer claimed the key wickets of Sophie Molineux for nine and Jess Duffin on two, as the Renegades struggled for momentum throughout.
It allowed the Adelaide side to cruise to victory with 15 balls to spare, as Tahlia McGrath continued her big run of form with an unbeaten 50 from 39 balls in a 82-run stand with Laura Woolvardt (36no).
In Wednesday's other game, the Melbourne Stars claimed their first win of the year when they easily accounted for the Sydney Sixers by 30 runs.
Set up by Annabel Sutherland's 57 as part of a first-innings score of 3-139, the Stars always looked in control after the Sixers' chase stumbled early.
Shafali Verma went in the first over for a duck, while Sutherland had Alyssa Healy caught on the mid-wicket boundary for 13.
Then with the required rate climbing, the Sixers were unable to find the boundary for 35 balls between the 13th and 19th over of the innings.
Ellyse Perry top scored with 40 from 43, while seamer Tess Flintoff bagged the back-to-back wickets of Nicole Bolton and Maitlan Brown to kill off the chase.
It marked the Sixers' first loss of the tournament, with the Strikers going into top spot on the ladder.
Australian Associated Press
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