Will Pucovski's chances of making his long-awaited Test debut appear to be rising by the day, with Australian captain Tim Paine admitting the youngster has made good progress.
Pucovski was in line to open alongside David Warner for the series opener in Adelaide before suffering a concussion while playing for Australia A in a lead-up match.
The concussion was Pucovski's ninth in his short career, and his enforced absence meant that the struggling Joe Burns was able to retain his spot at the top of the order.
With Burns failing to register double-figures in three out of four knocks this series, Australia is crying out for either Pucovski or David Warner to return from injury, and Paine said both were close to returns.
"David looks really good from what I have seen. He, obviously, has been training this week in the nets and started running between the wickets. I think the early signs with him are very good for the third Test, which is awesome for us," Paine said.
"Will Pucovski, a similar vein. He is not far away … from my conversations with Will, he is pretty close to a return."
The changes in Australia's XI for the third Test may not be restricted to the top of the order, with Shane Warne joining ex-Australian skipper Ian Chappell in putting the blowtorch on Travis Head.
"I'm a big fan of Travis Head, I think he's a future captain of Australia. But I think I'm frustrated like the selectors,' Warne told Fox Cricket.
"He keeps getting out the same way. Anyone can get the low scores and we can accept that and stick with them. But if you get out the exactly the same way, I think it is time to say you know what 'go back to Shield cricket and sort out those technique problems out and come back in' and hopefully he will get another chance."
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