MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Opener David Warner and bowler Sean Abbott will not play in the second cricket test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground beginning Saturday due to a combination of injuries and COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.
Warner and Abbott spent time in Sydney outside the team’s bio-secure hub to recover from injuries.
“While neither player has been in a specific ‘hotspot' on Sydney's northern beaches 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,” Cricket Australia said in a statement Wednesday.
Warner has not fully recovered from a groin injury sustained in the one-day series against India and would not have been available for the second test. Abbott has recovered from a calf strain sustained during Australia A’s tour match against India and would have been available for selection for the MCG test.
The pair traveled from Sydney to Melbourne to continue their rehabilitation given the changing public health situation in Sydney at the time.
Cricket Australia said no additional players will be added to the squad for the Melbourne match.
With 22-year-old star batsman Will Pucovski already ruled out from making his test debut at the MCG due to a concussion, it means Australia could remain unchanged for the second match.
Matthew Wade will again likely partner Joe Burns at the top of the order after they put on a 70-run stand in Saturday’s successful second-innings chase.
The pair will both rejoin the Australian team ahead of the third test, which is still scheduled for the Sydney Cricket Ground beginning Jan. 7. It is possible the test could be moved to the MCG because of Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Australia overwhelmed India by eight wickets in the series opener in the day-night test at the Adelaide Oval, bowling out the visitors for a record-low of 36 in their second innings.
With captain Virat Kohli returning to India to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, India will also reportedly be without fast bowler Mohammed Shami due to a broken right arm.
Shami was forced to retire hurt in India’s second innings when he was struck on the arm by a short-pitched delivery from Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins.
The paceman received treatment on the ground and although he tried to continue batting after having his right arm — his bowling arm — taped up, he couldn’t grip the handle properly and trudged off the field to end India’s innings on an even more distressing note.
Indian team officials in Australia haven't confirmed the break, but the Press Trust of India has reported that team officials told the agency that Shami would not be available for the next three tests in Australia.
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