Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke will return home from the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa due to a lower back injury. Clarke was ruled out of Australia's first two games, against West Indies and India, because of the injury he picked up during the latter half of the seven-match ODI series in England.

"On arriving in South Africa, the pain has intensified and he has not been able to participate in any of the team's training sessions," Cricket Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said. "He has received intensive treatment but it is apparent that he will not be able to take any part in the remainder of this series.

"As such Michael will return home to continue his treatment and return to playing as soon as possible."

Australia's national selectors are expected to name a replacement player shortly, subject to approval by the ICC. Australia need one point from their last group match, against Pakistan in Centurion on Wednesday, to make it to the semi-finals.