'Don't understand': Aussie great stunned by 'strange' Ashes moment

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Mark Waugh says he doesn’t understand why Mitchell Starc was dropped for the fifth Ashes Test.

Starc took 3-80 and 1-46 - as well as 54 not out with the bat - in the fourth Test, helping Australia to a 185-run win that saw them retain the Ashes.

However that was the only Test he played, dropped in favour of Peter Siddle for the series finale.

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Siddle struggled after suffering a hip injury on the opening day, going wicketless in the first innings before snaring two scalps in the second.

Tim Paine said the Aussies always planned to use Starc on the faster pitches in England - Old Trafford being one of them.

Siddle was favoured for his ability to keep it tight on the slower pitches, however Starc was expected to play more than one Test.

Peter Siddle (right) was brought back in for the fifth Test. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Waugh was among those shocked to see Starc only given one opportunity.

“He definitely should have played that last Test, I don’t understand why he didn’t play ahead of Peter Siddle,” Waugh said on the ‘At Odds’ podcast for Unibet on Wednesday.

“It seems kind of strange because they talked about keeping their bowlers fresh all the way through the series.”

Waugh said Australia missed a golden opportunity to win the series outright but their batting and catching at The Oval let them down.

“Winning the toss and bowling first is always a danger, but if they held their catches they would have been OK,” Waugh said.

“Our DRS reviews were hopeless again, we batted poorly again, apart from Steve Smith and Matthew Wade.”

Mitchell Starc ran the drinks in the fifth Test. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Paine reveals secret injury toll

The Aussie skipper has since revealed he broke his thumb at The Oval, and Siddle played through a painful hip ailment.

“My thumb was broken towards the end of that Test but it is not displaced, so I should be right to get back into training early," Paine wrote in a column for The Australian on Wednesday.

It’s unclear when he suffered the injury or whether it’s the same thumb Paine has had multiple surgeries on throughout his career.

"Peter Siddle tore a hip flexor bowling on the first morning," Paine added.

"He has copped a bit of criticism for not bowling as well as he we know he can, but the team knows just how heroic he was. A lot of other people wouldn’t have bowled again in the match, but he pushed on because he didn’t want to leave Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to do extra work.”