SYDNEY, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out of this week’s third test against India in Melbourne with uncapped batsman Joe Burns coming into the 13-man squad to replace him.
Marsh pulled up with a hamstring problem on the opening day of the second test in Brisbane, which Australia won by four wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series on Saturday.
Burns’s inclusion was the only change for the Boxing Day test, which starts on Friday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and Marsh will remain with the squad to prepare for the final test in Sydney.
Coach Darren Lehmann said Shane Watson’s performance with the ball, if not the bat, in Brisbane had made it easier to go for a batsman in the shape of 25-year-old Burns, who hit 183 for Queensland in a Sheffield Shield match last month.
“He’s a very good player against fast bowling,” Lehmann told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday.
“His performances this year have been very good. He’s a good young kid and a very aggressive player. His opportunity has come up and now he’s got to grab it.”
Opener David Warner was included in the squad despite injuring his thumb on Saturday and Lehmann was confident he would be fit to face India on Friday.
Fast bowler Ryan Harris has recovered from the thigh strain which ruled him out of the Brisbane test and will be in contention for a return to the pace attack against India.
“Ryan bowled with Peter Siddle this morning, they were fine, that’s a pleasing thing for us,” Lehmann added.
“We’ll have to make a call on the team closer to Boxing Day.”
Steve Smith will continue to captain the side in place of the injured Michael Clarke with experienced wicketkeeper Brad Haddin continuing as vice captain despite a poor run of form with the bat.
”We need Brad to make runs, he knows that,“ Lehmann added. ”He’s been working really hard behind the scenes and he’ll be disappointed with a couple of test matches so far.
“He does offer a lot behind the scenes, which we love, and his keeping has been exceptional. But, still, he’s got to make some runs. You can’t have your number seven not making runs.”
Squad: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith (captain), Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O‘Brien)