Concussion rules Will Pucovski out of Adelaide Test; Marcus Harris named replacement

Pucovski suffered concussion when struck on the helmet late in the Australia A match against the Indians at Drummoyne Oval

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Will Pucovski is assisted off the ground at Drummoyne Oval after a blow to the helmet, Australia A vs Indians, Tour game, Sydney, 3rd day, December 8, 2020

Will Pucovski is assisted off the ground at Drummoyne Oval after a blow to the helmet  •  Getty Images

Will Pucovski has joined David Warner in being ruled out of the first Test against India at Adelaide Oval with Marcus Harris called into the squad as a replacement.
Pucovski suffered concussion when struck on the helmet late in the Australia A match against the Indians at Drummoyne Oval, the ninth concussion he has suffered, which means a likely Test debut has been put on hold.
Warner suffered a groin strain in the second ODI against India and will miss at least the first Test with doubts about whether he will be ready for Melbourne.
Harris played the last of his nine Tests on the 2019 Ashes tour when he struggled against England's pace attack but has since made some technical adjustments alongside new Victoria coach Chris Rogers. He started the Sheffield Shield season with 239 and made 355 runs in three innings. He has been part of the Australia A side for both matches against the Indians.
Harris, who made his Test debut during India's previous tour in 2018-19, feels confident heading into his recall and has enjoyed not being the centre of attention in the lead-in with all the focus on other openers.
"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," he told Fox Cricket. "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."
Australia have a lot of questions over their opening pair for the first Test with Joe Burns, the other specialist opener in the squad, in the midst of an awful run of form with just 61 runs in eight innings this season. He made a duck on the first day of the pink-ball warm-up match.
"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 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."
One potential scenario of promoting Marnus Labuschagne to open has been complicated by the concussion suffered by Cameron Green on the first day at the SCG. He was subbed out of the game but has not yet been ruled out of the opening Test.
A Cricket Australia update on Saturday said Green's condition had improved but former team doctor Peter Brukner said he was already unlikely to be available for the opening Test.
"Green is really cutting it fine," Brukner told ABC Radio. "Six days [between the blow and the start of the first Test]... you'd almost rule Green out of the Test match if he has a concussion confirmed. The quickest someone can get back from a concussion is five days really."
The injury list continued to grow on the second day as Sean Abbott, part of the enlarged Test squad, was limited to just seven overs due to a calf problem. It was later said to be "tightness" and scans ruled out a tear, but though he is an unlikely contender for the final XI during the series it is another issue for the selectors.
Harry Conway, the New South Wales seamer, had earlier became the second player in the match subbed out due to concussion following the blow on the helmet he took late on the first day.
Cricket Australia said he did not report any symptoms at the time of his first assessment on the field but did after play which concluded with him running himself out. He was replaced by Mark Steketee before play started on Saturday.
Such was the stretch on the Australia A resources that coach Chris Rogers spent much of the day in borrowed whites in case he was needed to field.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo