David Warner and Sean Abbott ruled out of Boxing Day Test

Sport

Cricket Australia’s strict biosecurity protocols have prevented David Warner and Sean Abbott from rejoining the Test squad ahead of the Boxing Day Test, as the SCG Test in the new year remains in limbo due to the Covid-19 outbreak in NSW.

Opener Warner and fast bowler Abbott have both been recovering from injuries and spent time in Sydney, outside the national team’s bio-secure hub, as part of their rehabilitation.

The pair were flown down to Melbourne earlier this week given the potential for the coronavirus to spread quickly in Sydney following the outbreak in the city’s northern beaches.

Neither player has been in a specific Covid hotspot, but CA made a call on Wednesday to preclude them from rejoining the Test squad for the second match of the series against India at the MCG.

Warner would not have been fit enough to play in Melbourne anyway, as he seeks to shake off a groin injury sustained during the ODI series against India and prove his fitness in time for the third Test.

Abbott, meanwhile, would have been available for selection, having recovered from a calf strain he picked up while on Australia A duty. Cricket Australia said no additional players would be called into the squad.

A decision on whether the third Test will go ahead as planned in Sydney is expected before the start of the Melbourne Test. Earlier in the week, CA stated its preference to retain the game in the new year at the SCG, but the changing situation has led to the possibility of the MCG staging back-to-back matches, with the series skipping Sydney entirely and heading straight to Brisbane for the finale, starting on 15 January.

With Warner certain to miss the next match and Will Pukovski already out due to concussion, Australia, who lead the series 1-0 after their comprehensive win in Adelaide, are likely to name an unchanged team for Melbourne.

NSW recorded a further eight Covid cases on Wednesday, when premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the current restrictions for Greater Sydney will remain the same over the Christmas period, with just one slight tweak regarding the number of people allowed in households.