David Warner has ruled himself out of the first Test against India but Australia are still holding out some hope Will Pucovski will be fit to replace him in Adelaide.
Pucovski continued to be monitored by medical staff in Sydney on Wednesday, a day after his hopes of a Test debut were thrown into doubt with a blow to the head while batting in a tour match.
The 22-year-old will remain in Sydney for at least the next few days, before Australia make a call on whether to fly him to Adelaide and give him some hope of playing.
“Will has progressed as expected and is experiencing mild symptoms of concussion similar to yesterday,” Australia’s doctor John Orchard said.
“He is in good spirits and has been communicating and interacting regularly with teammates and staff.
“Will will remain with the Australia A squad in Sydney where we will continue to monitor his progress.”
The blow, which has resulted in the ninth concussion of Pucovski’s career, could not have come at a worse time given his hot start to the summer.
Australia are in the nightmare position of having one opener out, another in doubt and a third in worrying form just a week out from the first Test of the summer.
Warner’s fate was sealed on Wednesday morning when he confirmed he would not beat a groin injury in time and instead put his focus towards Boxing Day.
“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.
“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.”
Burns will be given the chance to find form in the final day-night tour match against India, starting at the SCG on Friday afternoon.
He has scored more than 11 just once in seven first-class innings this summer, for an average of just 8.71.
Marcus Harris will now open alongside him there, and will most likely be added to Australia’s Test squad as cover with neither Usman Khawaja or Shaun Marsh called in for the tour match.
Cameron Green will also feature in the SCG match, giving him a crucial first taste of pink-ball cricket.
Selectors must then decide whether to give Green a chance in the middle order for the day-night series opener in Adelaide, after he hit 125 not out in the opening tour match and took two wickets.
Mitchell Starc was one of the few others to remain in Sydney on compassionate grounds, with the majority of the squad otherwise flying to Adelaide on Wednesday.
AUSTRALIA A TEAM TO FACE INDIA FROM FRIDAY:
Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson, Ben McDermott, Mark Steketee, Will Sutherland, Mitchell Swepson.