Vodafone Test Series v India
Harris called up to Aussie Test squad, Pucovski ruled out
Victoria opener Marcus Harris added to Justin Langer's injury-hit group ahead of next week's series opener against India with Will Pucovski joining David Warner on the sidelines in Adelaide
12 December 2020, 02:07 PM AEST
Victoria's Marcus Harris has been added to Australia's Test squad and looks set to open the batting against India at the Adelaide Oval next week, with young gun Will Pucovski officially ruled out.
Harris comes into the squad for senior batter David Warner, who was ruled out of the first Vodafone Test match after injuring his adductor muscle in the second Dettol ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground late last month.
Warner did not travel with the Australians to Adelaide as he continues his rehabilitation and is targeting a comeback in the second Test in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
Harris has been in fine form this summer, posting 239 against South Australia in his first innings of this season's Marsh Sheffield Shield as part of the highest-ever Shield stand of 486 alongside Pucovski.
The uncapped Pucovski looked set to replace Warner in the first Test XI but the 22-year-old is still recovering from a mild concussion he sustained batting for Australia A on the last day of the tour match against India at Drummoyne Oval.
"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."
Pucovski was ruled out of playing in the second tour match, the ongoing day-night clash at the SCG, where fellow youngster Cameron Green also suffered a mild concussion after he was struck in the head in his follow-through by a powerfully-struck straight drive from India quick Jasprit Bumrah.
With Warner and Pucovski out, Harris looks set to play his 10th Test and first since the final Test of the 2019 Ashes.
The left-hander averages 25.06 with two half-centuries since debuting against India at the Adelaide Oval two summers ago.
Against the touring Indians this summer, Harris has put together scores of 35, 25no and 26 in three innings for Australia A, his most recent knock coming yesterday opening the batting with incumbent Test opener Joe Burns.
"There's obviously been a bit of stuff going on with everything in the last couple of weeks, so it's been good to have a hit against the Indian boys and another hit today," Harris told Fox Cricket in Sydney today.
"It feels like I'm in the right place at the right time, but it feels like I've been playing really well as well.
"It's been good, not to be the one that's spoken about too much.
"I knew coming here that if I went okay I'd put myself in a position to maybe play, the way that things have been going.
"But this season I've just been focused on what I need to be focused on.
"I obviously wasn't in the Test side last summer so I didn’t have that distraction coming into this summer and I've just been focused on what I need to do, so that's been good.
"Now I've found myself where I am, and I feel pretty ready to go and I'm looking forward to it."
In eight first-class innings, Burns has accumulated 51 runs at an average of 6.4 and been out without scoring three times playing for the Bulls and Australia A.
But the 31-year-old has four Test hundreds has played his part in Australia's ascent to the top of the Test team rankings.
Burns, Harris and the members of Australia's Test squad currently playing at the SCG, plus India's squad, are set to travel to Adelaide on Monday where they will finalise their preparation ahead of day one next Thursday.
Vodafone Test Series v India 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c) (first Test only), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT