Melbourne: Australia captain Pat Cummins will miss the third Test in India after returning home to be with his ailing mother in Sydney, Cricket Australia said on Friday.
Steve Smith will lead the side in Indore, where the match begins on Wednesday, in absence of skipper and paceman Cummins.
Cummins returned home after Australia succumbed to their second successive defeat in the four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which India will retain having taken a 2-0 lead.
“I have decided against returning to India at this time,” Cummins said in a statement adding his mother was “ill and in palliative care.
“I feel I am best being here with my family.
“I appreciate the overwhelming support I have received from Cricket Australia and my teammates. Thanks for your understanding.”
While Australia are hoping Cummins will be back for the final Test in Ahmedabad from March 9, Smith could end up leading the side in both matches.
Hazlewood, Warner return
Injured fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has returned home from India without playing a match and opener David Warner also flew back after suffering a fracture in his elbow, and concussion, in the second Test in New Delhi.
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar did not play any match in India either and is back home to play domestic cricket for Western Australia.
Green declared fit
All-rounder Cameron Green, however, has declared himself fit for the Indore Test after a finger injury kept him out of the first two matches.
“I was so close in the last game, but I think probably having an extra week has helped a lot, so, yeah, I’m ready to go,” Green told reporters in New Delhi.
Left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, also recovering from a finger injury, is likely to play his first match in Indore, filling the void created by Cummins’ absence.
Australia need to avoid a 4-0 whitewash to make the final of the World Test Championship at The Oval in June, while India need one more victory in the series to book their place.