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Pucovski may have to play through pain in series decider

“Will, he’s a young guy, he’s just played his first Test,” Langer said on Wednesday. “Mentally, he’s going to be exhausted anyway – it’s a tiring business.

“We’ll keep an eye on how he pulls up today. With shoulders, as long as he can bat OK and can catch – it’s not as big a deal in Test cricket for us. We’ll probably know by tonight if he’s right to go. It’ll either be a quick turnaround and he’s backing up and into it or it’ll be a few weeks.

“It might be a bit of bursitis or something.”

Langer expects David Warner to play despite the opener expressing doubt before the Sydney Test about his ability to play in both games. Warner was in discomfort while batting in the first innings but was able to perform his duties in the field without issue, albeit in a new position.

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“I said before the last Test match he’d have to deal with a little bit of pain,” Langer said. “The muscle part of the injury has cleared 100 per cent. He had another scan two nights ago. His tendon will be sore. That’s what happens with tendon injuries – he will be in pain.

“But it’s 100 per cent his decision to play. We work together on it. I’m confident, 100 per cent confident, he’s right to go for the Test match.”

Harris will come into the side for his first appearance in the baggy green since the fifth Ashes Test in 2019 if either opener is unavailable. The left-hander was considered by some to be unlucky to be overlooked for Joe Burns at the start of the series, then was kept on the bench after Warner and Pucovski were cleared to play in Sydney.

It spells bad news for former vice-captain Travis Head, who lost his place to Matthew Wade. Wade, however, failed to fire in the third Test in Sydney and will need a big score to shore up his position for the series against South Africa, assuming it goes ahead.

Langer is also confident quicks Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc will overcome the short break between games to capitalise on a Gabba track that traditionally favours Australia’s speedsters.

“I think of guys like Rick McCosker, Steve Waugh, Allan Border, they set a pretty high standard of what we expect from Australian cricketers,” Langer said. “I suspect they’ll be ready to go for this Test match.”

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