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Saturday, April 3, 1999 Published at 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK

Sport: Cricket

Warne axed for fourth Test

Warne - dropped after indifferent recent form

Leg-spinner Shane Warne has been dropped from Australia's team to play West Indies in the fourth and final Test starting later on Saturday.

Warne, the most successful spin bowler in the game's history with 317 Test wickets, has been a shadow of his former self since returning earlier this year from a shoulder operation last May.

Warne, who has taken just two wickets for 268 in the first three tests of the series, is replaced by Colin Miller, who can bowl off-spin or medium pace.

[ image: Wicketkeeper Healy has struggled on this tour]
Wicketkeeper Healy has struggled on this tour
Warne's fellow wrist-spinner Stuart MacGill keeps his place as Australia seek to square the series in which they trail 2-1 after losing the second and third Tests.

Australia have also dropped opener Matthew Elliott, who has been replaced by Greg Blewett.

Fast bowler Jason Gillespie withdrew with a back injury and his place is taken by medium pacer Adam Dale, while wicketkeeper Ian Healy passed a fitness test and will play.

Warne, as vice-captain, sat on the selection panel with captain Steve Waugh and coach Geoff Marsh.

"It came down to who we thought was bowling a little bit better at this stage," said Waugh.

"Geoff and I both had the gut feeling that Stuart was the right man for this time.

"I'd love to have played Warney - he's been there, done that, he's taken 317 wickets and he's a great bowler. But the head had to rule over the heart."

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