Aussie quick Mitchell Starc is set to miss the first Test against India in Nagpur having suffered a finger injury in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa. Starc was in strong form for Australia in the opening Test match against South Africa in Brisbane having taken five wickets on a green track.
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However, the quick suffered a brutal injury on the middle finger of his left hand after he detached the tendon from the bone in the Boxing Day Test. This left him unable to bowl after the match, despite picking up three wickets across the two innings.
Starc has been a selection certainty during tours of Asia in recent years having been able to manufacture reverse swing to help average less than 30 with the ball. As a left hander, he also helps create rough patches on the pitch with his footmarks. This hands spinner Nathan Lyon an area to target and create uncertainty.
But in a brutal blow, Starc will not be fit for the first test against India. The quick said he would have to reassess his return at the nde of the month, before the Test series starts on Feb 9.
"That's probably likely (I will miss the first Test)," Starc told AAP at the launch of Amazon Prime's The Test documentary. We'll see how we're placed at the end of the month.
"Hopefully I am there for the second Test if they want to play me. Maybe I can make some footmarks for Gazza (Lyon) or something. We'll see how the finger is."
Scottie Boland will replace him.
— Shrii (@Ramshriii) January 9, 2023
7 Green (Presuming fit)
None of our other spinners are that much better than Marnus & Head. If Green is not fit, drop him for Boland.
— Simon Rachy (@SimonRachy9) January 9, 2023
Mitchell Starc just provided an update that he might miss the first test vs India in Nagpur.
I know for sure that Mitch Starc is the last guy you want to miss in Asia. #INDvsAUS
— Himanshu (@himmyrao23) January 9, 2023
Australia face selection headache in India
Most likely joining Starc on the sidelines is allrounder Cameron Green. The youngster performed well during the South African series and is seen as a vital alternative in the pace attack.
Nagpur has traditionally been regarded as a big-turning wicket. Jason Krezja took 12 wickets at Nagpur on debut in 2008.
This could see part-time spin options Travis Head and Steve Smith play more of a role, which was put into practice during the third Test against South Africa at the SCG.
While Josh Hazelwood will most likely act as the other frontline pace bowler during the series, Captain Pat Cummins didn't rule out going into the Test with just two quicks.
"Over there, you pick two spinners. You think it is going to be quite a spinning wicket," Cummins said. "Travis Head, Marnus (Labuschagne), Smudge (Steve Smith). They all come into it a bit more. Generally if you're picking two spinners you're not expecting it to be a long game."
Australia hasn't won a test series in India since 2004. However, Australia head into the series as the ICC Test Championship leaders having played two more matches than second place India.
Winning one test match in India will secure a spot in the Test Championship Final for Australia.
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