Jos Buttler smashed a majestic century as Rajasthan Royals compounded Sunrisers Hyderabad's Indian Premier League misery with a dominant 55-run victory.

The Sunrisers, bottom of the standings with six defeats from seven, made the dramatic decision to strip David Warner of their captaincy on Saturday and there was no place in their XI for the deposed Australia opener.

Buttler proceeded to provide the sort of fireworks at the top of the order that are seemingly beyond Warner at present, plundering a maiden T20 ton in style as he smashed 124 from 64 deliveries, with 11 fours and eight sixes, to account for the bulk of an imposing 220-3.

Despite the promise of first-wicket stand of 57 between Manish Pandey (31) and Jonny Bairstow (30), Hyderabad's chase never really threatened and they limped to 165-8 – left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman (3-20) the pick of the Rajasthan attack.

Although he had twice come close with knocks of 49 and 41, Buttler entered the match without a half-century to his name in six previous attempts this season.

The England star was not initially at his fluent best, gutsing his way to a 39-ball fifty after surviving an lbw shout from Rashid Khan on seven, the leg-spinner dismissing Buttler's opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal for 12 in similar fashion.

Supported by skipper Sanju Samson (48) in a 150-run stand for the second wicket, Buttler cut loose. The 15th over, Mohammad Nabi's sole contribution with the ball, disappeared for 21, and by the time Sandeep Sharma (1-50) forced him to drag on, Buttler had already walloped three sixes and a four from the penultimate over.

Pandey and Bairstow made light of Warner's axing, although Mustafizur bowled the former off his pads with a slower ball and the procession that followed Buttler's England colleague perishing at long-on off Rahul Tewatia (1-45) showed Hyderabad's problems are myriad.

New skipper Kane Williamson scored 20 off 21 deliveries and any lingering hope was gone when he became Kartik Tyagi's first IPL wicket.

Kedar Jadhav's run-a-ball 19 was the best any one else could muster and he was bowled to be one of three victims for Chris Morris (3-29).

Patience pays off for Buttler

It seems unusual to flag up how a batsman who flayed the opposition to all parts actually played within himself initially, but Buttler shrewdly recognised his way out of a relative slump. "I think sometimes you have to swallow your ego when you're not in perfect touch," he said when receiving the man-of-the-match award.

"You have to give yourself time and find your way. I tried to stay in and keep the belief that something will click." As the final 25 deliveries Buttler faced disappeared for 74, it was fair to say something exploded.

A new role for Rashid

Khan was into the attack early for Hyderabad, Williamson breaking from Warner's habit of using the spinner in the middle overs. The skipper was partially vindicated by the early wicket and it would have been a very different contest had Buttler not survived.

However, Khan's allocation being used by the 11th over arguably left the Sunrisers exposed to one of the most destructive batsman on the planet and lacking the means to check his charge.

Kane Williamson has been appointed as Sunrisers Hyderabad captain for the remainder of the Indian Premier League after David Warner was axed.

It appears Warner will also be dropped by the struggling Sunrisers for Sunday's game against the Rajasthan Royals after the franchise revealed a change to the overseas combination will be made.

Warner scored a half-century in a midweek defeat to the Chennai Super Kings, but took "full responsibility" for the loss as he "batted too slowly."

The Australia batsman had previously questioned the decision to omit Manish Pandey from the team and Warner could now find himself out of the side, with Jason Roy awaiting his chance.

Sunrisers are rooted to the bottom of the table with five defeats from six matches and New Zealand skipper Williamson will lead them for the rest of the tournament.

A statement released by the franchise on Saturday said: "Sunrisers Hyderabad would like to announce that Kane Williamson will be taking over the captaincy for tomorrow's match and for the remainder of the IPL 2021.

"The team management has also made the decision that they will be changing the overseas combination for tomorrow's match against Rajasthan Royals.

"This decision has not come lightly as the management respects the enormous impact David Warner has had for the franchise over a number of years.

"As we face the remainder of the season, we are sure David will help us thrive for success both on and off the field."

Chennai Super Kings once again got the better of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, recording a seventh win in nine meetings by easily chasing down a target of 172.

Ruturaj Gaikwad made 75 - his highest IPL score - and the in-form Faf du Plessis contributed 56 as Chennai triumphed with seven wickets and nine balls to spare at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Rashid Khan (3-36) was the only successful Hyderabad bowler, though even the leg-spinner was not spared from punishment. With a fifth successive win, the Super Kings move above Royal Challengers Bangalore to top of the table.

Hyderabad, in contrast, prop up the rest in the standings; winning the toss was about the only thing that went right for them.

Captain David Warner laboured to 57 from 55 balls and Manish Pandey finished as his team's leading scorer with 61, helping add 106 in combination with his skipper for the second wicket.

However, after Lungi Ngidi (2-35) removed both well-set batsmen, Kane Williamson finally provided some much-needed impetus in the closing overs.

The New Zealand captain hit 26 from the 10 deliveries he faced, raising the question as to why he did not come in earlier in the innings. Kedar Jadhav (12 not out) also contributed a late cameo, though a final score of 171-3 always appeared below par.


Warner signs not good

Warner now has 193 runs at an average of 32.16 in the tournament this year, while the left-hander reached the notable personal milestone of 10,000 in his first-class career in the shortest format.

Still, his strike-rate of 110.28 runs per 100 deliveries in 2021 is well below his IPL career mark of 140.13. The skipper's frustration was obvious in this innings, as he struggled to pierce the field, albeit he did manage three fours and a pair of sixes.

Openers dominate in chase

Having seen Hyderabad struggle for momentum, Chennai made sure they did not have similar issues in their reply. Gaikwad recorded his fifth IPL half-century thanks to 12 boundaries and Du Plessis played his part in an opening stand worth 129 to take over as the leading run-scorer in the tournament.

While Rashid dismissed the pair – as well as getting Moeen Ali caught for 15 in the deep – Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina, who finished unbeaten on seven and 17 respectively, made sure their team cruised over the line in the penultimate over.

Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar took three wickets apiece as Mumbai Indians claimed their second victory of the 2021 Indian Premier League against winless Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Mumbai posted a modest 150-5 from their allocation on Saturday with the total boosted largely to some valuable late-order hitting from Kieron Pollard.

Jonny Bairstow (43 off 22) laid a solid platform for Hyderabad's reply with an aggressive knock alongside the more cautious David Warner (36 off 34).

But both men departed to soft dismissals before India leg-spinner Rahul (3-19) stifled the middle order and Boult (3-28) blew away the tail as Hyderabad were bowled out for 137.

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma (32) and fellow opener Quinton de Kock (40) made good use of the powerplay after they had elected to bat first as they picked up length well, punishing anything short, on a slow pitch in Chennai.

Mumbai's innings stuttered in the middle overs as Vijay Shankar (2-19) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-29) put the brakes on before Pollard (35 not out) whacked 16 crucial runs off the last over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Boult and Jasprit Bumrah initially made life tough for Hyderabad before Bairstow exploded in with a brutal assault, striking three fours and four sixes before he stepped on his stumps trying to work a ball from Krunal Pandya.

Hyderabad skipper Warner was then run out and Rahul's leggies swung the momentum Mumbai's way with three wickets before Boult and Bumrah (1-14) proved formidable at the death.

The victory took Mumbai top of the table, until Sunday at least, while Hyderabad are languishing at the bottom.

Sunrisers need more from Bairstow and Warner

In the third over of their reply, England's Bairstow launched a towering six off Boult straight down the ground which shattered the glass on a drinks fridge next to the Sunrisers' dugout.

His 43 off 22 balls got Hyderabad's reply off to a great start while Australian Warner played a more methodical innings to put his side within striking distance.

Both openers, however, were out to soft dismissals – Warner made a daft call for a single while Bairstow was out hit wicket – and the pair need to place greater value on their wickets.

Boult and Bumrah masterful 

Rahul caught the eye with his with his leg spin as he removed the top-six wickets of Manish Pandey, Virat Singh and Abhishek Sharma.

But at the business end of the game New Zealand left-armer Boult and India paceman Bumrah, who did not concede a single boundary, gave an exhibition in how to bowl at the death to snuff out any lingering Hyderabad's hopes.

That was backed up by some superb fielding from Hardik Pandya, who prowled the infield sharply and claimed two run outs including Warner.

Royal Challengers Bangalore made it two wins from two in the Indian Premier League as Sunrisers Hyderabad's miserable record at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium continued on Wednesday.

Glenn Maxwell hit his first half-century in the tournament since 2016 as the Royal Challengers – who had beaten defending champions Mumbai Indians in their opening fixture – posted 149-8 after being put into bat.

Hyderabad appeared on course to prevail in pursuit of their target when they reached 96-1, only for the departure of captain David Warner – caught in the deep for 54 - to trigger a dramatic collapse.

Shahbaz Ahmed claimed three wickets in an over, including Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey with back-to-back deliveries, to completely change the complexion of a run chase that fell apart.

While Rashid Khan made 17 in a hurry the Sunrisers still finished up six runs short on 143-9, meaning they have still yet to win a completed fixture at the venue in Chennai.

Bangalore's innings had been similar too, captain Virat Kohli making 33 before his departure to Jason Holder started a mid-innings wobble, his team slipping from 91-2 to 109-6.

However, Maxwell eventually mastered the tough batting conditions, producing a late onslaught as 39 runs came from the final three overs. He was dismissed off the last delivery of the innings for 59, caught behind to give Holder final figures of 3-30.

Taking it to the Max

Maxwell endured a lean 2020 IPL campaign in the United Arab Emirates, averaging 15.42 for Kings XI Punjab as he made only 108 runs. Having been released ahead of the auction, Bangalore already appear to be getting plenty for their money.

The Australian has now scored 98 runs in his two innings for the Royal Challengers, who sit on top of the table in the embryonic stages of the season.

Chennai trouble for chasing teams

After Kolkata Knight Riders had faltered in pursuit of a 153-run target to lose narrowly against Mumbai at the ground 24 hours earlier, Sunrisers let the same situation happen when seemingly well on top.

Shahbaz (3-7) bowled only two overs, yet the second from the left-arm spinner saw Bairstow, Pandey - who struggled to up the pace as he made 38 from 39 balls - and Abdul Samad all caught off top-edged attempts to go big to the leg side.

Australia face a race against time to win the fourth Test and reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy from India after rain wreaked havoc on day four in Brisbane.

Tim Paine's Australia batted for most of Monday and set India 328 for victory in the series decider after the hosts were bowled out for 294 midway through an extended final session.

India were 4-0 when the covers were brought out at 16:35 local time and stayed on at the Gabba, where the tourists require 324 more runs to win but only need a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar crown, with the series deadlocked.

Australia resumed on 21-0 before Mohammed Siraj – who claimed his maiden five-for – spearheaded a chaotic collapse after the home team lost 34-4 in the morning session.

Openers Marcus Harris (38) and David Warner (48) fell victim to Shardul Thakur (4-61) and Washington Sundar (1-80) respectively, before Siraj stole the show by dismissing Marnus Labuschagne (25) and Matthew Wade (0) within three deliveries – leaving Australia 123-4.

After dropping Steve Smith on 42 and Cameron Green on 14, Siraj held his nerve to claim the prized scalp of the former Australia skipper for 55.

Green (37) did not last much longer as Thakur also sent Paine (27) back to the pavilion, with the Australians 242-7.

After umpires brought the tea break forward due to wet weather, Australia's tail tried to add to the total – Pat Cummins' unbeaten 28 and a quick-fire 13 from spinner Nathan Lyon aiding their cause.

India pair Rohit Sharma (4 not out) and Shubman Gill (0) will return to the crease as the thrilling series heads for a draw.

 

Siraj celebrates maiden five-for

It was a day to remember for Siraj, who broke through for his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

After making his Test debut on Boxing Day in Melbourne, the 26-year-old has made an immediate impact for the touring side.

All eyes on Paine

Has Paine given Australia enough time to win and reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy? With wet weather in Brisbane, his decision to bat for much of the penultimate day before being bowled out has raised questions.

More rain is forecast for Tuesday.

Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar halted Australia's momentum before India were bowled out for 336 on a frustrating day for the hosts in the fourth Test at the Gabba.

Australia appeared on track to clean up India's batting line-up and maintain a healthy lead on day three of the final match after leaving the tourists in a perilous position of 186-6, but unheralded pair Shardul (67) and Sundar (62) put on a remarkable 123-run stand.

Josh Hazlewood's five-wicket haul finally helped put an end to India's stubborn resistance – Australia heading into their second innings with a 33-run advantage on Sunday.

David Warner (20 not out) and Marcus Harris (1 not out) saw out the remaining half-hour of play to lead Australia to 21-0 at stumps, a lead of 54 runs, as Tim Paine's side face a race against time to win the Test and reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

After rain wreaked havoc on Saturday, India resumed 62-2 in response to Australia's first-innings 369 in Brisbane, where Hazlewood (5-57) and Mitchell Starc (2-88) managed to claim the prized scalps of Cheteshwar Pujara (25) and captain Ajinkya Rahane (37) in the morning session.

Hazlewood removed Mayank Agarwal (38) with the second delivery after lunch, and the Australia star almost dismissed Rishabh Pant (23) to leave India 186-6.

But Shardul and Sundar combined to sensationally thwart Australia, who toiled tirelessly before eventually bowling out India.

Star Australia opener Warner then raced out the blocks with a quick-fire 20 runs, including three boundaries, to navigate a tricky end to the day.

 

India duo come to the rescue

A remarkable seventh-wicket stand kept Australia at bay and clawed India within touching distance of the hosts' first-innings total.

It was an unlikely pairing that rescued India – Sundar celebrating a half-century on his Test debut, while Shardul also raised his bat for a maiden Test fifty.

Hazlewood huffs and puffs

For the second time in the blockbuster series, Hazlewood recorded a five-for against India.

It was far from easy for Australia, but Hazlewood battled as Pujara, Agarwal, Pant, Navdeep Saini (5) and Mohammed Siraj (13) fell victim to the fast bowler.

David Warner has apologised to the India team and said he would "expect better" from Australia fans after the tourists were allegedly subjected to racial abuse at the SCG.

Six people were ejected from the iconic Sydney venue on day four after India paceman Mohammed Siraj reported he was the target of abuse while he was fielding on the boundary.

The tourists also reported alleged racial abuse of Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj on Saturday.

Play came to a halt around 10 minutes on Sunday, with umpires and security guards holding discussions before the spectators were removed by New South Wales Police.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) strongly condemned the reported incidents and offered Cricket Australia (CA) all necessary support with an investigation.

India showed great application to bat out for a draw on the final day and Australia opener Warner offered praise along with an apology to Ajinkya Rahane's side on Tuesday ahead of the series decider at The Gabba.

He posted on Instagram: "It was great to be back out on the park again this week.

"Was not the ideal result for us but this is what Test cricket is all about. 5 days of tough cricket and well done to our guys for working as hard as we could, congrats to India in the way they fought hard for the draw, and that's why we love this game, it's not easy.

"Move onto Brisbane now for the decider and what a place the Gabba is to play at.

"I’d also like to say sorry to @mohammedsirajofficial and the Indian team as racism, and abuse is not in any way acceptable or tolerated anywhere at any time, and I would expect better from our home crowd."

Tim Paine hinted David Warner's inclusion for Australia in the third Test against India may not be the only change to the side.

Warner is set to return from an adductor injury when the third Test begins in Sydney on Thursday, and Will Pucovski appears set to make his international debut.

Australia captain Paine confirmed on Wednesday a team had been picked – but he would not publicly name it just yet.

"We've got a team, we're just not releasing it at the moment," he told a news conference.

"The boys are still training at the moment so we'll get through that first unscathed and then we'll try and get a team out as quickly as we can after that.

"Obviously with David playing and potentially more, there's some conversation that need to be had first."

Paine confirmed Pucovski would open if he played, with Joe Burns already omitted from the squad.

That is likely to see Matthew Wade return to the middle-order and Travis Head potentially dropped.

In October and November last year, Pucovski became the first player to score double centuries in consecutive Sheffield Shield innings since Dene Hills in 1997-98.

Paine praised Warner, whose absence has been felt as Australia struggled with the bat in the opening two Tests.

"Davey's been awesome, brings really high intensity, fills guys with confidence around him," he said.

"He's a player that you love having on your side, he's always got plenty to say, really energetic, very professional and I've always loved playing with him and I know he's a player in this team that guys love to have in our side.

"He's made an instant impact with that energy and intensity that he brings.

"Will's been fantastic as well. He's been out of the bubble for a couple of weeks so he's excited, he's fresh, he's been batting really well in the nets and looks ready to go if he was called upon."

Australia will hope the "very likely" return of David Warner can inspire them to regain the series lead as they take on India in the third Test from Thursday.

India produced an impressive turnaround in Melbourne last time out, squaring the series at 1-1 despite being without Virat Kohli and also losing the toss.

Stand-in Ajinkya Rahane stood up in the absence of India's captain, making 112 to set the tourists up for an impressive eight-wicket victory.

However, Australia are undefeated in their last nine Tests against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Indeed, their only defeat in meetings between the teams at the venue came in January 1978.

The hosts reacted to the defeat by dropping out-of-sorts opener Joe Burns, having made just 63 runs in four innings during the series.

Warner and Will Pucovski were both injured and missed the first two Tests but head coach Justin Langer gave a positive update on the former, who he thinks will be able to play through the pain.

Uncapped prospect Pucovski, meanwhile, has passed concussion examinations so will challenge Travis Head for a place in the side.

BUBBLE CONCERN FOR INDIA

India had to isolate five members of their squad as a precaution in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Test, amid concerns over a breach of protocols within the bio-secure bubble.

Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw trained away from the rest of the squad after a video on social media showed them dining at an indoor venue in Melbourne.

However, both teams - and members of the support staff - tested negative for COVID-19 prior to travelling to Sydney to continue the four-match series.

Rohit has not featured for India on the tour so far due to injury, including missing the white-ball games that preceded the Tests, but could be involved at the SCG.

Batsman KL Rahul is out of the rest of the series with a wrist injury, ending speculation he could replace struggling Mayank Agarwal.

LANGER CONFIDENT OF SMITH RECOVERY

While the expected return of Warner could give them a boost, Australia will also be looking for a turnaround from Steve Smith.

Smith has only managed scores of 1, 0 and 8 during his completed innings in Adelaide and Melbourne, with spinner Ravichandran Ashwin having him caught in two of those three dismissals.

Ranked at three in the ICC rankings, he had only failed to reach double figures in two of his 14 previous innings since returning to Test cricket in the 2019 Ashes.

"Imagine how good we'll be when he does start batting well," said a confident Langer. "That's how I look at it.

"He hasn't had the best of series so far, he'll be the first to admit that, but my gosh, what I know about great players is the longer they miss out, the sooner it is that they're coming good again.

"So that puts a big smile on my face. I don't coach Steve Smith. Steve Smith coaches himself and I'm sure he's going to work it out. 

"He is a great player and I can't wait to watch him bat this Test match and the next Test match."

KEY OPTA FACTS

- India have lost only two of their last nine Tests against Australia (W5, D2) - they now search for back-to-back wins against them for just the second time since 2013.
- Australia's loss in the second match snapped an eight-game winning run in Tests at home; they will now look to avoid consecutive home defeats for the first time since November 2016.
- The home team dropped eight catches last time out in Melbourne, their most in a single Test since dropping nine against India in the New Year's Test of 2012 in Sydney.
- Ricky Ponting (8) is the only player to have logged more centuries at the Sydney Cricket Ground than David Warner (7) in international cricket.
- No player has taken more wickets (10) or posted a better bowling economy (2.1) than India's Ravichandran Ashwin throughout this series.
- Nathan Lyon is six wickets shy of becoming just the third Australian bowler to take 400 in men's Tests (Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath); his 89 wickets against India are his most against any team.

David Warner admitted it was unlikely he would be fully fit for Australia's third Test against India, but the opener is hoping to play.

Warner has missed the opening two Tests of the series, which is locked at 1-1, due to an adductor injury.

The left-hander's return in Sydney, where the third Test begins on Thursday, would be a huge boost to Australia's struggling batting line-up.

But Warner said on Saturday it was unlikely he would be at full fitness for the clash.

"We've got a training session today and tomorrow so I can't give you any more indication of where I'm at. I haven't ran the last couple of days but after today and tomorrow it will probably give me a better indication of where I am," he told a news conference.

"Am I going to be 100 per cent? Highly doubtful. But I'll be doing everything I can to get on that park and play and even if that means I'm not 100 per cent, I'll be doing everything I can to let the selectors give me that green light."

Australia's highest score of the series so far came in the second innings in Melbourne as they made 200.

Warner's return would be a major boost, but the opener said he was likely to be restricted if he played – and his running between wickets would be a key factor.

"Batting in the nets the other day it probably actually helped me because I had to wait for the ball to be in my actual area and I didn't have to throw my hands at it so it made me play nice and tight," he said.

"For me, you're going to have some restrictions here and there but at the end of the day it's about myself. When you get into the game, adrenalin takes over as well so you don't cast any doubt over the fact that you can't play those shots."

Warner added: "For me, it's about my speed between wickets, that's all that matters, it doesn't matter about what shots I can and can't play, it's about the drop and run, helping the guy at the other end get off strike, they're the things that I work on and they're the things I like to be 100 per cent fit for.

"In this case, I'm most likely not going to be, but I'm going to have to try and work out myself in the nets how I'm going to manage that and that's the most important thing to myself and this team."

Opener Joe Burns has been dropped by Australia for the third and fourth Tests against India with David Warner recalled as he edges closer to full fitness following a groin injury.

Warner is likely to play at the Sydney Cricket Ground after missing the opening two matches in the series that is now tied at 1-1 following the tourists' impressive victory in Melbourne.

Burns was the man to miss out after registering scores of 8, 51 not out, 0 and 4 in the opening two Tests.

"Joe Burns has been released from the squad and will return to the Brisbane Heat," said chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.

"Unfortunately, Joe's returns haven't been what he or the selectors would like or what we consider he is capable of.

"David has made strong progress in his recovery from injury and will be given every chance to play in Sydney with another seven days until the match."

There may be another change to the batting line-up with Will Pucovski also included in the squad.

The 22-year-old was due to play in the series opener in Adelaide before suffering another concussion, the ninth of his career. Pucovski's versatility means he could bat anywhere in the top six.

Hohns added: "Will is in the final stages of the graduated return to play protocols and has been symptom free for some time.

"He will be fit to play in Sydney subject to completing the return to play protocols and an independent assessment."

Paceman Sean Abbott was also included after overcoming a calf problem.


The Australia squad for the third and fourth Tests against India is: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner

Australia opener David Warner has been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test, while Sean Abbott will also miss the Melbourne date with India.

Warner will sit out the blockbuster clash as he continues to recover from a groin injury, which sidelined him for the opening Test in Adelaide, where Australia won by eight wickets.

The 34-year-old Warner suffered an adductor injury during the second ODI against India last month as he watched Australia humble the tourists in the day-night contest at Adelaide Oval.

Australia paceman Abbott has returned to full fitness, but he will also be absent for the second Test due to Cricket Australia's (CA) strict biosecurity protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Warner and Abbott both departed for Melbourne on Saturday as a COVID-19 outbreak moves through Sydney, though they will be unable to enter the squad's hub.

"David Warner and Sean Abbott will re-join the Australian men's Test squad ahead of the third Test against India," a CA spokesman said.

"Warner and Abbott spent time in Sydney outside the team's bio-secure hub to recover from injury. While neither player has been in a specific 'hotspot' as outlined by NSW Health, Cricket Australia's biosecurity protocols do not allow them to re-join the squad in time for the Boxing Day Test.

"Warner has not fully recovered from a groin injury suffered in the ODI Series against India and would not have been available for the second Test match, while 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 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."

Matthew Wade and Joe Burns opened the batting for Australia in the first Test against India, and the pair are in line to continue atop the order.

Wade (33) and Burns (51 not out) put on a 70-run stand as Australia embarrassed Virat Kohli's India, who were held to a record-low Test score of 36 in the second innings.

The Boxing Day matchup will be the 100th men's Test between Australia and India, just the seventh fixture in the game's history to reach a century of iterations – Australia have won 43 of their previous 99 Tests against India (D27, L28).

Steve Smith (1,431) needs just 69 runs to become the fifth Australia player to reach 1,500 Test runs against India. His batting average of 79.5 from his 22 innings is the highest of any Australian to have logged more than six innings against them.

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon requires nine more wickets to reach 400 in Test cricket – only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) have taken more for Australia in the men's format.

Will Pucovski has been ruled out of Australia's opening Test against India due to concussion, with Marcus Harris added to the squad.

Pucovski joins star batsman David Warner (adductor) on the sidelines ahead of the first day-night Test in Adelaide, starting December 17, after sustaining a mild concussion while batting for Australia A in their tour match with India.

Uncapped sensation Pucovski had been hoping to replace Warner at the top of the order for his Test debut, but the 22-year-old – who had posted 495 runs at an average of 247.5 to begin the Sheffield Shield campaign – was struck while batting on the last day of the tour match at Drummoyne Oval.

Victoria team-mate Harris – on track to play his 10th Test and first since the 2019 Ashes – has now been added to the squad, having recorded 239 runs against South Australia as part of the highest-ever Shield stand of 486 alongside Pucovski last month.

"Given the spate of injuries in recent weeks, we're fortunate to be able to bring a player of Marcus' calibre into the Test squad," said national selector Trevor Hohns.

"Marcus has been in outstanding form for Victoria this season and has had the benefit of facing India's bowlers in both three-day tour matches at Drummoyne and under lights at the SCG.

"At the same time, we are disappointed for David and Will that they will not be available for the first Vodafone Test.

"We have taken a conservative approach in managing Will since he sustained the concussion and hope he and David will be back to full health ahead of the Boxing Day Test."

 

David Warner has been ruled out of the first Test against India in a huge blow to Australia.

Warner, 34, suffered an adductor injury during the second ODI against India last month and will miss the Test series opener, which begins in Adelaide on December 17.

The left-hander is pushing to return for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

"I feel I have made great progress in a short amount of time and it's best for me to stay here in Sydney to continue working on getting back to full fitness," Warner said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The injury feels a lot better, but I need to be able to satisfy in my own mind and to my team-mates that it is 100 per cent ready for Test match conditions.

"That includes running between the wickets and being agile in the field. Right now I feel I am short of being able to play at peak fitness and another 10 days will make a difference."

Australia head coach Justin Langer praised Warner, saying: "If there is one guy you know will go well above and beyond that's Dave.

"He has done an incredible job to get to where he is today and we hope to have a fully fit David Warner at his absolute best in Melbourne."

Much of the talk ahead of the series has centred around Warner's opening partner for the first Test, with Will Pucovski pushing for Joe Burns' spot.

Burns' poor form continued with scores of four and a duck in Australia A's drawn tour match against India.

The in-form Pucovski, meanwhile, made one in the first innings and was on 23 in the second before retiring hurt after being hit in the helmet by a Kartik Tyagi bouncer.

Australia A's second tour match against India begins in Sydney on Friday.

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