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Brett Lee says India would become favourites to win the Border-Gavaskar series at the Gabba if Australia is missing both Will Pucovski and David Warner for the decider.

One of those pieces has already fallen with Tim Paine confirming on Thursday that Pucovski has been ruled out of the fourth Test with a shoulder injury.

The other piece India would need to fall is Warner, who played the third Test still hampered by a groin injury and made scores of 5 and 13.

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“India would have to be favourites”

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Speaking to foxsports.com.au on Thursday before Pucovski was ruled out, Australia legend Lee said Australia would be in trouble if it had to find a new opening partnership one Test after it was formed.

“I really hope Pucovski pulls through because he’s such a talented player. When you think about what he can offer, it’s brilliant,” Lee said before Paine confirmed the news. “The other worrying sign is David Warner — hopefully he can come up.

“Otherwise we are potentially looking at two different openers at the Gabba. If that’s the case, then I’d have to say the tide turns and India would have to be favourites.”

Paine said Victorian opener Marcus Harris will replace Pucovski in the Australian XI, while there is no update on Warner’s fitness, although he’s expected to play.

Either way, Pucovski’s injury means Australia will be forced into using a third opening batting combination in three Tests.

Australia hasn’t lost to a touring side at the Gabba since 1988, while India has never won at the ground where it has lost five times and drawn once.

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Marcus Harris on standby for Pucovski

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Nonetheless, India has showed stunning grit and determination this series in the face of an injury mountain — and has already pulled off one major upset by losing just five wickets in 131 overs to draw the Sydney Test.

Lee on Thursday still backed Australia for success, although he doesn’t believe India claiming a win at the Gabba is so unlikely despite its own injury concerns.

“I don’t think a win at the Gabba is a miracle (for India), I think it’s a real possibility, especially if Australia are a couple short in their bating line up,” Lee said.

“The only thing that’s going to hurt India is their lack of options to choose from. A couple of their gun bowlers are gone, a couple batsmen are out with injury as well.

“The Australian bowlers are all fully fit, so I’m going to tip Australia is going to go well at the Gabba providing we have Pucovski and David Warner at the top of the order.

“If we don’t, then India can definitely come back in and are a chance to beat Australia.”

Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli are just some of the names India will be missing for the fourth Test, starting Friday.



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