David Warner will return from injury to take his place in the Australia squad for the third Test against India while struggling fellow opener Joe Burns has been dropped.
Also in the squad is 22-year-old Will Pucovski who had been in line to make his Test debut in the first match of the series in Adelaide – won by Australia by eight wickets – before the ninth concussion of his young career ruled him out of the opening two games.
Fast bowler Sean Abbott had also recovered from a calf strain and returns to the squad, but out-of-form Burns was released after struggling in the first two Tests.
The batsman entered the series against India in the poor form. He managed just 62 runs in nine first-class innings but kept his test place due to Warner's groin injury. But Burns scored 0 and 4 in the second Test in Melbourne as won by India by eight wickets and notched only 63 runs in two matches.
"Unfortunately, Joe's returns haven't been what he or the selectors would like or what we consider he is capable of," national selector Trevor Hohns said.
Although Warner was still recovering from his injury, selectors were hoping the opener would be fit for the match at Sydney Cricket Ground that starts on January 7
“David has made strong progress in his recovery from injury and will be given every chance to play in Sydney with another seven days until the match," Trevor Hohns said.
“Will [Pucovski] is in the final stages of the graduated return-to-play protocols and has been symptom free for some time. He will be fit to play in Sydney subject to completing the return to play protocols and an independent assessment."
If Australia hand highly-rated Pucovski, who averages 247.5 in the Sheffield Shield this season, a debut, Matthew Wade is likely to move back into the middle order from his role as a makeshift opener.
Despite an outbreak of Covid-19 in Sydney, Cricket Australia has confirmed the Third Test will be held at the SCG, with players expected to arrive on January 4.
The virus cluster, which emerged earlier this month, has forced authorities to put parts of the city in lockdown and place restrictions on travel to other states.
But officials were still confident the test would be able to go ahead before the teams travelled to Brisbane for the final Test on January 15.