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Will Pucovski ruled out of Gabba Test as Australia confirm XI

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14th January, 2021
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Australian young gun Will Pucovski will miss tomorrow’s fourth Test against India at the Gabba after failing to overcome a shoulder injury.

After impressing with the bat on debut in the Sydney Test, scoring a valuable half-century in the first innings, Pucovski hurt his shoulder fielding on the final day and failed a fitness test on Thursday morning.

“He tried to train this morning, didn’t quite come up,” captain Tim Paine said.

“He’ll have a bit of work to do with our medicos to see where he goes from here.”

The news is yet another cruel blow to the 22-year-old, whose international debut had already been delayed by concussions and mental-health related breaks from the game.

Pucovski’s Victorian opening partner, Marcus Harris, will come into the side to take the vacant spot at the top of the order alongside David Warner, who has been cleared to play despite being clearly hampered by his groin injury in Sydney.

Harris hasn’t played Test cricket since the 2019 Ashes in England, but started the Sheffield Shield season in excellent form, scoring 355 runs in two matches at an average of 118, including a double century in the Bushrangers’ season opener.

“He’s been working his backside off in our hub, he deserves his opportunity,” Paine said.

“He’s a really relaxed type of character, so he’s one we certainly enjoy having him in and around our group.”

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From nine Tests, Harris averages 24 with the bat and is yet to score a century, but the two fifties he’s scored in the baggy green to date came against India in 2018-19.

His inclusion is the only change to the Australian XI for the deciding Test, with the three-pronged pace attack of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc all earning selection once again despite a gruelling fourth innings in the field in Sydney.

Matt Wade has kept his place in the middle order after a rash shot in the first innings had some questioning whether he should be in the side, while the Gabba match will be Nathan Lyon’s 100th Test.

Lyon will become just the 13th Australian to reach the milestone, joining Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Ian Healy, David Boon, Steve and Mark Waugh, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.

With the sides tied at 1-1, Australia need to win to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, while a draw will suffice for India to retain the silverware, having won the last series in Australia in 2018-19.

Australian XI for fourth Test vs India

David Warner
Marcus Harris
Marnus Labuschagne
Steve Smith
Matthew Wade
Cameron Green
Tim Paine (c, wk)
Pat Cummins
Mitchell Starc
Nathan Lyon
Josh Hazlewood

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