Left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the upcoming Boxing Day Test of the Ashes series against England to be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia’s premier bowler is suffering from a bruised heel and aggravated his condition during the side’s win at WACA, Perth.
He is going through a phase of rehabilitation to make sure he is fit for the final game at Sydney. Starc has gone further examination in Sydney and the scans show no major injury. Jackson Bird has been named as a replacement for Starc in the Test squad for the upcoming fourth game at Melbourne.
Bird has been in good form and performed well in the Shield Cricket. He has got few opportunities to play Australia and has taken 34 wickets from 8 Test matches so far. Australia will be hoping that he can do a good job alongside Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in absence of Mitchell Starc.
Starc has missed a lot of Boxing Day games for Australia and made one only appearance at the ground for the hosts way back in 2011.The left-arm pacer has suffered from a lot of injuries in recent times but will be focused to be fit for the remainder of the series followed by one-day series and T20s against England. Australia’s Test captain Steve Smith stated that Starc is an absolute match-winner for the side but it will good chance for someone like Bird to put his hand with the ball. Smith said that the side is confident of putting in another performance in front of expected packed crowds at Melbourne.
Mitchell Starc has been leading wicket-taker for Australia in this series with 19 wickets to his name. Australia will have to preserve left-arm quick as the side will tour South Africa in March. Australia has already regained the urn and has a 3-0 lead in the five-match Test series. The remaining games will be played at Melbourne and Sydney respectively.