MELBOURNE: Australia opener David Warner will miss the second Test against India this week because he left a bio-secure bubble to receive treatment for a groin injury that would have ruled him out of the match in any case, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Wednesday.
Warner missed Australia’s eight-wicket victory over the tourists in the series opener last week but had been hopeful of being fit for the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground, which starts on Saturday.
Bowler Sean Abbott was also unable to rejoin the squad after leaving the Sydney bubble for treatment on a calf injury but he looked highly unlikely to force his way into the side after Australia dismissed India for 36 in their second innings in Adelaide.
Both players had flown to Melbourne early ahead of state border closures following a Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney and will now rejoin the squad ahead of the third Test, which is scheduled to be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground from Jan 7.
“Cricket Australia’s bio-security protocols do not allow them to rejoin the squad in time for the Boxing Day Test,” CA said in a statement. “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.
“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 players will not be replaced in the squad for the Melbourne Test, making it likely that Australia will stick with the makeshift opening partnership of Joe Burns and Matthew Wade.
Spinner Nathan Lyon, meanwhile, is expecting an Indian comeback while saying they still had plenty of world-class quality in their side despite skipper Virat Kohli heading home for the birth of his first child.
“That was one of those days when nothing went right for them, and everything went right for us. We’ve all had them, it is part of the game of cricket,” Lyon told reporters. “We’re expecting them to come out firing and not have any scars from the other day. Cricket’s a new day, new game every time. I know we can’t expect to go and bowl them out for 50 again so we have to make sure we’re preparing well.”
Lyon was largely a spectator as pacemen Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc ripped through the Indian batting order in not much more than an hour last Saturday.
The 33-year-old said it was a privilege to be part of what he considered to be the best bowling attack in the world, even if it meant he was targeted by batsmen desperate for some relief from pace.
“India will try and attack me again,” he added. “I think it’s one of their tactics to come after me, which is totally fine, I’m pretty used to it. It’s up to me to know when to attack and when to defend as well. It’s all fun and part of cricket, especially when you’re a little spin bowler.”
Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2020