Starc ramps up bid for SCG Test return

Mitchell Starc has convinced himself he is ready to return in the Ashes finale, now Australia's spearhead must do the same with selectors.

Starc ramps up bid for SCG Test return

Starc ramps up bid for SCG Test return

Starc didn't drink a drop of alcohol on the night Australia celebrated reclaiming the urn in Perth, desperate to be fit for the MCG dead rubber.

That proved an unrealistic goal but the left-armer's bruised heel has since improved dramatically. Starc appears confident he won't be a liability in the fifth Test that starts on Thursday.

The express paceman took part in fielding drills at the SCG on Tuesday then spent over half an hour bowling off his full run-up without any signs of discomfort.

He generated impressive pace in the nets then had a long chat with team doctor Richard Saw and physio David Beakley, who both appeared happy with proceedings.

Saw, Beakley, chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns and coach Darren Lehmann must now weigh up the various pros and cons.

Mitchell Starc chats with Glenn McGrath. Pic: Getty

Provided Starc pulls up well on Wednesday it's likely to be a complex and convoluted debate, with the superstar one of the team's most important assets on their upcoming Test tour of South Africa.

"He's really keen to play and he was pretty confident," Pat Cummins told reporters.

"He looked like he was bowling quick ... now it's seeing how it recovers.

"He's played a lot of cricket now and he knows his body pretty well and what he can get through. I'm sure they will take a lot of it on his word."

Cummins suffered a bruised heel on Test debut in 2011, kickstarting almost six years of injury hell, but suggested Starc's setback was more minor.

"If you keep smashing it, it will get bigger and bigger but he says it's in a good spot now," Cummins said.

"The last couple of weeks it's definitely got a lot better."

Pace icon Glenn McGrath, who also suffered the painful injury during his storied career, preached caution.

"With a big tour of South Africa coming up ... if he's 100 per cent fit I'd play him," McGrath said.

"If he's not quite there, unfortunately (they) might have to let him have a rest."

England opener Mark Stoneman admitted Starc's absence made "quite a difference" in Melbourne, suggesting it lightened the pressure.

"No disrespect to Jackson Bird ... he (Starc) is about 10-15 kms/h quicker," Stoneman said.

Steve Smith was unable to bat on Tuesday because of a sore back but the skipper is expected to play the final Test.

The Sydney pitch will play a big part in deciding the structure of Smith's side. If another flat track is produced it is unlikely Starc will play.

Ashton Agar has been added to Australia's squad but the deck is currently covered with grass, fuelling expectations the left-arm spinner will be left out of the XI.

"I haven't had a look but I like the colour of it," Cummins said.

"They're going to cut it in the next couple of days ... but it doesn't look as bare as I guess you sometimes see here."

Back To Top
feedback