Veteran opener David Warner will play no further part in the tour of India after Australia decided to send him home due to the arm injury he suffered in the second Test.
Scans revealed a small fracture to his elbow during his eventful first innings knock of 15 in which he also copped a blow to the head which led to him being subbed out of the match in Delhi due to the concussion protocols.
Warner went sightseeing in India with his family after the team’s second straight defeat inside three days.
The NSW 36-year-old may return for the ODIs later in the tour but his abrupt exit from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series raises questions about whether the struggling left-hander has played his last game of Test cricket.
Travis Head, who filled in for Warner at the top of the order in the second innings, will remain Usman Khawaja’s opening partner with Cameron Green set to bolster the middle order.
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“Warner was struck on the elbow in the second Test in Delhi and sustained a hairline fracture,” Cricket Australia announced in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“After further assessment, he will require a period of rehabilitation which will preclude any further involvement in the remainder of the Test series.
“It is currently anticipated that he will return to India for the three ODIs which follow the Test series.”
The 32-year-old has played just three of Australia’s last 16 Tests due to niggling injury issues over the past two years.
Captain Pat Cummins flew home after Australia’s six-wicket loss in Delhi on Sunday because of a serious family illness, but is expected to return for the third Test in Indore, starting on March 1.
Bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar and out-of-form batter Matt Renshaw will possibly leave the Australian camp if the hierarchy decide they are definitively not in their plans for the third and fourth Tests.
“With a few players now becoming fit and available, are we carrying too many?” Australia coach Andrew McDonald said on Monday.
“We’ve got to be clear on what we want to achieve in the next two Test matches in terms of the structure of the team.
“There’s an opportunity for players to be playing cricket back home and we value that.
“It won’t be form related, it’d be more we want our players playing where they can be and not just being carried around in kit bags, in particular when there’s cricket going on back home.”
Australia have more than a week to piece together how a tour that started with so much promise quickly descended into a debacle.
India will retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy for the fourth straight time after winning the second Test in Delhi by six wickets to take an unbeatable 2-0 advantage in the four-match series.
Australia’s hopes of securing the trophy went up in flames during a chaotic 90 minutes of batting on Sunday, losing 9-48 to blow their shot at a game there for the taking.