Mystery surrounds Mitchell Starc amid Boxing Day injury fears

Scans have cleared Mitchell Starc after he injured his finger, but it remains to be seen how it will affect his bowling in the Boxing Day Test.

Mitchell Starc is pictured looking downcast on the left, with his injured finger highlighted in a red circle on the right.
Mitchell Starc appeared to injure the middle finger on his left hand while fielding on day one of the Boxing Day Test, but has been cleared to play on. Pictures: Getty Images

Mitchell Starc is set to play on in the Boxing Day Test, despite appearing to dislocate his middle finger on his left hand while diving for a catch on day one of the Boxing Day Test. Starc was sent for scans overnight, but Cricket Australia has since said he has been cleared to resume.

How this will affect his bowling, after taking 2/39 from just 13 overs on day one, remains to be seen. Cameron Green, fresh from his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket, could take on more overs if Starc is limited in the second innings.

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The 32-year-old will have the advantage of some time to rest on day two, depending on how Australia's first innings plays out. The hosts resume on day two at 1/45, after opener Usman Khawaja was dismissed for one.

Starc looked to be in trouble after the ball caught him flush on the finger as he went for the dive, quickly leaving the field before returning a short time later. Nathan Lyon admitted to at stumps that initially it wasn't looking good for the strike fast bowler.

“Not ideal, I don’t think,” Lyon said. “He’s popped off for a scan now. Fingers crossed we can get the best possible result with his scan.

“I don‘t know what he’s technically done, but it doesn’t look the greatest. He went out the back and tried to bowl, but I think it (felt) a bit different to be honest. Unfortunately, injuries are part of the game … all we can hope for is he gets the best possible result with the scan – he‘s there as we speak.”

Cameron Green steps up amid potential Mitchelk Starc injury

While Starc had to endure his misfortune, Green made the most of his extra opportunity to tear through South Africa's tail-end, after first breaking the century partnership put on by Kyle Verreynne and Marcon Jansen.

Picking up the wickets of both middle-order batsman in successive overs, Green went on the clean up the Proteas' tail to earn his first five-wicket haul. It comes soon after he was recruited by the Mumbai Indians in the recent Indian Premier League auction for an Australian record $3 million.

The 23-year-old has been cautioned by teammate and IPL veteran David Warner, who noted this year's competition comes amid a packed schedule for Australia's cricketers. Australia will embark on a Test tour of India, as well as the Ashes series in England and the Cricket World Cup.

Cameron Green took his first Test five-wicket haul in a terrific Boxing Day Test performance. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Cameron Green took his first Test five-wicket haul in a terrific Boxing Day Test performance. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

"You're going to have a long time away from home as a young kid" Warner said. "How he deals with that himself - he has great support, I'm sure, with his management and family.

"That's going to be his biggest hurdle. It's not about going out there and performing, he'll do that, that's inevitable. There's a lot of cricket to be played - so good luck to all of us."

Warner also added Green would one day have to choose between the three forms of the game, just as English captain Ben Stokes has given up one-dayers. "He's going to have a big decision on his hands in a couple of years' time with his body," Warner said.

With AAP

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