(Add details, quotes)
MELBOURNE, December 30 (Reuters) – Opening batsmen David Warner and Will Pucovski were included in Australia’s 18-man squad for the third test against India in Sydney, but Joe Burns was dropped after two failures at Melbourne.
Regular opener Warner missed the first two tests with a groin strain while uncapped Pucovski was ruled out after suffering a concussion when he was hit in the helmet by a short ball in a touring match before the start of the series.
Burns was out for a duck and four at Melbourne Cricket Ground where Australia crashed Tuesday in an eight-wicket loss that tied the four-test series at 1-1.
“Joe Burns has been released from the squad and will return to the Brisbane Heat,” selector Trevor Hohns said in a press release on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately Joe’s returns have not been what he or the managers would like or what we consider him capable of.”
Hohns said Warner has made great strides in his recovery and will have every chance of playing in the third test, which begins Jan. 7 at Sydney Cricket Ground.
“Will is in the late stages of the phased return to play protocols and has been without symptoms for a while,” he added.
“He will be fit to play in Sydney subject to completion of return-to-play protocols and independent assessment.”
All-rounder Sean Abbott was also included in the squad after recovering from a calf strain.
Squad: Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner