Injuries, pitch cloud Australia's Test XI

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Annabel Sutherland is on the cusp of a Test debut at age 19 as Australia grapple with uncertainty about injuries, weather, the pitch and COVID-19 restrictions on the eve of their pink-ball clash with India.

The multi-format series, fresh from a riveting third ODI in Mackay that ended Australia's 26-match winning streak in the format, continues at Metricon Stadium on Thursday.

Australia's XI is far from settled.

Beth Mooney is expected to play despite an injury scare on Sunday but hamstrung veteran Rachael Haynes will miss the rest of the series, while legspinner Georgia Wareham (quad) is in doubt.

Captain Meg Lanning, speaking a day after coach Matthew Mott praised Sutherland, said the deck will help determine who fills Haynes' void.

Numerous women's Tests have been overshadowed by poor pitches, including this year's India-England draw in Bristol that was played on a old strip from a men's domestic Twenty20 match.

But there is hope this will be a lively pitch befitting the occasion as selectors mull just how many Test debutantes to call-up.

"Rach is a big loss ... the good thing is we've got some options there," Lanning said on Wednesday.

"There's a green tinge there, so that potentially brings some of our pace-bowling allrounders into the frame.

"We just need to decide if want to go with that specific batter (uncapped Georgia Redmayne) or the allrounder.

"Annabel Sutherland bowled extremely well (on Sunday), a young player who came in and took her opportunity."

Sutherland, the daughter of former Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James, was part of a victorious Twenty20 World Cup squad at age 18.

The right-armer claimed three quick wickets on Sunday, including the key scalp of captain Mithali Raj, to ignite a comeback for Australia.

And showers are forecast for the first half of the four-day contest between the rivals, threatening to make 20 wickets even harder to come by.

"Hopefully it evades Metricon Stadium and we don't lose too much time," Lanning.

Masks have become mandatory for Gold Coast residents after confirmation two COVID-19 cases were infectious in the community.

This week's Sheffield Shield match has been postponed but, as of Wednesday afternoon, it was business as usual regarding the pink-ball Test.

"We hope there's fans here. That will certainly add to the spectacle," Lanning said.

"The situation is changing all the time ... we'll do what we can to keep the game going.

"But we do what we're told in some respects ... we'll let the experts look after that stuff."

Raj said her squad was thankful their tour, in doubt during recent months as CA wrestled with obstacles related to COVID-19, went ahead.

"These things aren't in our hands but we take the protocols very seriously and follow them," the veteran batter said.

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