The much-maligned career of Mitch Marsh has hit another snag, with the Australia all-rounder returning home from India because of a shoulder injury.
Marsh, who had been nursing the niggle since summer, will play no further part in the four-Test series that is level at 1-1.
The 25-year-old was unable to bowl at full pace during the recent match in Bangalore. Marsh will consult specialists in Australia, with his replacement in the 16-man touring party yet to be confirmed.
Moises Henriques looms as the frontrunner ahead of Marcus Stoinis. Henriques made his Test debut during the infamous 'homework-gate' tour of India in 2013, while he scored 265 for NSW in a Sheffield Shield game last month.
But there is every chance the new addition to the group will be restricted to drinks duty in Ranchi, where the series continues next Thursday.
Selectors will strongly consider including Glenn Maxwell or Ashton Agar in the XI as a spinning all-rounder or the prospect of beefing up the batting order with Usman Khawaja.
"You could go either way really," coach Darren Lehmann said on Wednesday.
"You could go with the extra spinner ... we talked about that before the first Test.
"We'll have a look at the wicket and work out what we do."
Team medicos were confident at the start of the year they could manage Marsh's troublesome shoulder throughout a demanding trip to the subcontinent.
He was among the first group to land in Dubai for a pre-tour training camp, having been ruled out of ODI series against Pakistan (home) and New Zealand (away).
Marsh took the new ball and scored 75 during the side's only tour game in India.
A patient second-innings 31 in the series-opening boilover on a raging turner was among the most important and impressive knocks of his career.
But the West Australian managed a total of 13 runs in the ensuing clash, leaving him with the lowest Test average of a No.6 batsman to have played at least 20 Tests.
"I thought he played really well in the second innings in Pune," Lehmann said.
Lehmann denied it was a gamble to select Marsh given his injury.
“It was fine when he got here but it's gotten worse,” he said.
"It's unlucky for Mitch and we move to whoever the next person who comes in. Whether we go with Usman Khawaja or Glenn Maxwell or whoever."
LOWEST TEST BATTING AVERAGES OF NO.6 BATSMEN (MIN 20 TESTS)
*19.70 - Mitch Marsh (473 runs)
*25.91 - JP Duminy (622 runs)
*26.61 - Dwayne Bravo (1304 runs)
*28.06 - Marlon Samuels (814 runs)
*29.23 - Ian Botham (2690 runs)