Australia coach Justin Langer has all but confirmed David Warner will return for the third Test against India and said uncapped opener Will Pucovski is available for selection after clearing concussion protocols.

Regular opener Warner has been racing to be fit for the New Year’s Test starting Thursday after missing the first two matches in Adelaide and Melbourne with a groin strain.

Warner admitted last week he was unlikely to be fully fit but Langer told reporters on Tuesday the lefthander was “very, very, very likely” to play at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) where Tim Paine’s Australia will hope to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

Warner is expected to replace the dropped Joe Burns but selectors will have to decide whether Pucovski should partner Warner at the top of the order or retain Matthew Wade as a makeshift opener.

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