By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Marnus Labuschagne is ready to step up in David Warner's absence and open the batting for Australia in the remaining white-ball matches against India if called upon.
Labuschagne scored 70 off 61 balls batting at four in Sunday's win in the second one-day international in Sydney but the night was soured for the hosts with a groin injury to Warner.
Warner, who scored 83 to help Australia seal the series 2-0 and made 69 in the first ODI, was ruled out of the rest of the white-ball series on Monday and remains in doubt for the first test at Adelaide Oval on Dec. 17.
"He's been a massive part of us winning this series and it is not great that we've lost him but like anything, it provides an opportunity for someone else to step up in the top order and make runs," Labuschagne told reporters on Monday.
"Certainly, if I got asked to open the batting, absolutely it's an opportunity that I would enjoy doing. But we'll have to wait and see."
Opener D'Arcy Short has been brought into Australia's Twenty20 squad as a "like-for-like" replacement for lefthander Warner, Cricket Australia confirmed on Monday.
Warner's absence for the test series would open the door for young talent Will Pucovski to debut with incumbent opener Joe Burns.
Burns has had a run of low scores in the domestic Sheffield Shield but Labuschagne, who bats at three in the test side, backed his Queensland team mate to rise to the occasion if Warner remained sidelined.
"Joe's averaging 40 in test cricket, so he's certainly established and he's got four test hundreds. He's a very good player," said Labuschagne.
"Although he hasn't scored the runs in Shield cricket that he'd like, he got 99 against Pakistan in the first test last summer and he negotiated through that new ball period almost every time last summer, so he's not really far away from a couple of really big scores."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Christopher Cushing & Shri Navaratnam)