David Warner may have played final Test in sad reality for Aussie opener

The opener's tough tour of India has come to an end and questions remain over his role in the team.

David Warner (pictured left) reacts in anger after being dismissed and (pictured right) Warner walks off the field.
Aussie great David Warner (pictured) could have played his match for Australia after being sent home from the India tour in poor form and a fractured elbow. (Getty Images)

David Warner's horror India series is over with the opener flying back to Australia, but his absence has now raised the question on whether the 35-year-old has made his last Test appearance. Warner will miss the final two Tests against India in Indore and Ahmedabad with Australia 2-0 down in the series.

Australia are unlikely to call in a replacement player for Warner with allrounder Cameron Green set to return, likely in place of Matt Renshaw, from a finger injury to bat at No.6 in the third Test. Warner will require a "period of rehabilitation" on his elbow and the decision was made on Tuesday to send him back to Australia. Australia are preparing for him to return to India for the three ODIs, starting in Mumbai on March 17.

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While Warner would be frustrated with the way his series has unfolded in India, the stark reality is the 35-year-old opener may have played his final Test for Australia. Warner is averaging 45.47 from 103 Tests, hitting 25 centuries - the eighth most by an Australian.

The left-hander is undoubtedly one of the best opener's Australia has seen. However, his form in the last three years - especially on tour - has seen growing pressure for him to be dropped at the top of the order.

And his numbers don't make for pretty reading. Warner scored 15 runs in his last innings in Delhi after struggling to get off the mark for nearly 30 minutes.

Scores of 10 and one in Nagpur has seen Warner's average drop to 21.78 in India across his career. Other than the double century at the MCG last year, Warner's most recent scores read 15, 10, 1, 10, 3, 0, 28, 21, 48, 5, 24, 5, 10* and 25.

Only days out before embarking on the tour of India, Warner admitted his schedule had left him 'exhausted'. Warner also admitted he wanted to play until at least the end of this year's Ashes in England - a country where he has also had trouble making runs.

The swinging Duke ball has never been Warner's friend and Stuart Broad has taken his wicket more than any other bowler. Ravi Ashwin is a close second. With a crucial Ashes series coming up, selectors will have to make the crucial call on whether Warner has played his last Test for Australia.

One of the factors Warner has on his side is the lack of openers knocking down the door to replace him. Travis Head opened the batting in his spot after Warner was ruled out with concussion and he top scored for the Aussies. And coach Andrew McDonald was complimentary of Head's performance after he was sensationally dropped in the first Test match.

"If Dave's unavailable it would make perfect sense," McDonald said on Monday of opening with Head. "We did discuss before coming over here that if we were to lose an opening batter that Trav would be one we'd look to put up there. We feel in the subcontinental conditions that he can get off to the fast starts which he showed."

Josh Hazlewood returns home for Australia

Unfortunately, Australia have suffered a number of setbacks on the tour with a number of players returning to Australia before the third Test. Australia captain Pat Cummins returned to Sydney after the second Test due to a serious family illness, but the star fast bowler is expected to arrive back in India by the weekend.

David Warner (pictured) during a practice session in India.
David Warner (pictured) is set to return to Australia after fracturing his elbow in India. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)

Fellow quick Josh Hazlewood has left the squad after failing to overcome a persistent achilles injury which ruled him out of the first two Tests. If Cummins is not available, Steve Smith would almost certainly step up as captain after last doing the role during the Adelaide day-night Test against West Indies in December.

with AAP

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