SOMERSET and England bowler Craig Overton will miss the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne as he continues to recover from a fractured rib.

The 23-year-old initially sustained the knock when he was hit by a short delivery during the second Test in Adelaide, and later compounded the injury by falling awkwardly when attempting a caught and bowled.

Though he gained great credit for playing through the pain barrier in Perth, to do so again would risk further damage - Overton himself said earlier this week that to continue could risk a punctured lung.

The context of the series is also likely to have been taken into account, with England 3-0 down with just two Tests to play, but it is unfortunate timing for the seamer, who was enjoying an impressive introduction to Test cricket with bat and ball.

He will also be frustrated to miss out on the showpiece occasion of the Boxing Day Test which, though the Ashes have been lost, remains an iconic part of any tour to Australia.

Surrey's Tom Curran, Durham's Mark Wood and Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball will battle it out to replace Overton in the side, while young Hampshire spinner Mason Crane could be handed a debut - a penny for the thoughts of Jack Leach.

The fourth Test begins at 11.30pm on Christmas Day evening.