David Warner has officially been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test match as he continues to recover from a groin injury.
The opening batsman suffered the injury while fielding during the second one-day international against India at the SCG last month.
On Wednesday, Cricket Australia confirmed that Warner and Australian pace bowler Sean Abbott would not rejoin the Test squad ahead of the second match against India in Melbourne.
Although Abbott has recovered from a calf strain sustained during the Australia A’s tour match against India in Sydney, he was not available for selection due to CA’s strict biosecurity protocols.
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“Warner and Abbott spent time in Sydney outside the team’s bio-secure hub to recover from injury,” CA said in a statement.
“While neither player has been in a specific ‘hotspot’ as outlined by NSW Health, Cricket Australia’s biosecurity protocols do not allow them to rejoin the squad in time for the Boxing Day Test.
“The pair travelled from Sydney to Melbourne to continue their rehabilitation given the changing public health situation in Sydney at the time.”
As a result, Joe Burns and Matthew Wade will almost certainly open the batting for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
When Warner does return to the squad, selectors face the difficult task of dropping a batsman from the starting XI.
Despite a recent form slump, Burns was the only batsman in the top six to score a half-century in the series opener at Adelaide Oval.
West Australian young gun Cameron Green has been touted as a future superstar of the game, while Wade and Travis Head would also consider themselves bitterly unlucky to be sacked.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon threw his support behind the under-fire Head, who was dismissed for seven in the day-night Test in Adelaide.
“Hundred per cent I am backing (Head) for the Boxing Day Test match. Obviously, there is close connection there between Travis and myself,” Lyon said.
“Travis has my support and everyone else’s support in that changeroom. I know that he didn’t have the Adelaide Test match that he wanted or had planned for but I have got no doubt he will come out on Boxing Day and have a, hopefully, great Test match for Australia.”