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'Freak' injury puts Bairstow out of third Test and T20 World Cup

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How will England replace Bairstow in South Africa decider? (1:43)

Andrew Miller reacts to a devastating blow for England's Test and World Cup teams (1:43)

Jonny Bairstow has been ruled out of England's third Test against South Africa and the T20 World Cup after suffering a "freak" injury while playing golf.

The ECB said in a statement that Bairstow had suffered a "lower-limb injury", understood to be in his left leg, and that he will see a specialist next week to "ascertain the full extent".

ESPNcricinfo understands that Bairstow sustained the injury when he slipped while walking to a tee box while playing golf at Pannal Golf Club near Harrogate on Friday morning. The injury is believed to be serious and could be a fracture, which would also rule Bairstow out of England's Test tour to Pakistan in December.

"Unfortunately I am going to be unavailable of [sic] games/tours in the immediate future," Bairstow wrote in a post on his Instagram story. "The reason being is that I have injured my lower leg in a freak accident and it shall need an operation.

"The injury came when I slipped on the golf course this morning. I am gutted and want to wish everyone for this week at The Oval all the best firstly and the boys that are going to Australia for the T20 World Cup. Absolutely gutted! I will be back."

Bairstow's injury is a huge blow for England. He is the leading run-scorer in Test cricket worldwide this year and a senior player in their white-ball teams. The timing of his injury is particularly galling for England, happening on the morning that they revealed their T20 World Cup squad.

Rob Key, England's managing director of men's cricket and interim chair of selectors, had revealed on Friday morning that Bairstow was due to open the batting alongside Jos Buttler in the World Cup, having largely batted in the middle order over the last two years.

England are yet to name a replacement. Will Jacks, the Surrey and Oval Invincibles opener, is the most likely candidate after he was named in the squad to tour Pakistan immediately before the World Cup, but Alex Hales, Jason Roy, James Vince and Joe Root are among the other names who could come back into contention.

Ben Duckett, the Nottinghamshire batter, has been added to the squad for the third Test at The Oval on Thursday. Harry Brook, who has spent the summer with the team as the spare batter, is likely to make his Test debut in the middle order.