Australia opener David Warner out of first Test against India

Australia face a shortage at the top of the order after David Warner’s injured groin ruled him out of next week’s first Test against India in Adelaide. A day after likely debutant Will Pucovski copped a blow to the head in a tour match and was left in serious doubt, Warner’s fate was sealed on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old confirmed he would not recover in time from the groin injury suffered in an ODI late last month, instead switching 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% 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.”

Warner’s news came as the majority of Australia’s squad flew to Adelaide to begin preparations for next week’s first Test. Four others – Joe Burns, Cameron Green, Sean Abbott and Mitchell Swepson – remained in Sydney for a final tune up in this weekend’s day-night tour match against India.

All eyes also remain on Pucovski and how he recovers from his latest head knock, with the 22-year-old showing signs of mild concussion on Tuesday afternoon. His blow to the helmet in the drawn match against the Indians saw him almost immediately ruled out of this weekend’s warm-up game, but his availability beyond that is undecided.

Regardless though, the situation is a difficult one for the talented right-hander. The latest bout of concussion was his ninth and came nine days out from what would have been a certain Test debut now Warner has been ruled out.

Marcus Harris is the most likely to be added to the Test squad as cover, set to open alongside Burns this weekend for Australia A with Pucovski out. Burns’s poor form also remains an issue. He has scored more than 11 just once in seven first-class innings this summer, for an average of just 8.71.

Mitchell Starc remains away on compassionate grounds, although at this stage there is no suggestion he could miss the Test series opener. Josh Hazlewood sat out the final two games of the Twenty20 series with back soreness but is also not in any doubt for the Test.

Selectors must also decide whether to give Green a chance in the middle order in the first Test after he hit 125 not out in the opening tour match and took two wickets.