Starc set to play as pace battery assessed

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In-form fast bowler Mitch Starc should be ready for the Boxing Day Test as the Australians work out how to re-cast their pace battery again.

Captain Pat Cummins' return from his COVID-19 scare in Adelaide means at least one change to Australia's pace attack.

Josh Hazlewood is also in the mix after missing the second Ashes Test because of a side muscle injury.

Starc has rib soreness -- no surprise after his yeoman work through the first two Tests -- with Victorian Scott Boland brought into the squad as cover for any forced omissions.

Jhye Richardson made a triumphant return to Australia's XI in Adelaide, taking five wickets in the second innings, while Michael Neser made his Test debut.

Coach Justin Langer was full of praise for Starc and expects him to be ready for the third Test at the MCG.

"Mitch Starc was almost man of the match, last game ... he's an unbelievable athlete, he's incredibly fit," Langer said on Thursday.

"His resilience to just keep coming up over and over and over again is remarkable and his consistency of length, and the way he controlled the tempo of (the) last game) was a credit to him, particularly with Patty and Josh Hazlewood not playing.

"He became the leader of the group, he did a fantastic job.

"So I would be very surprised if he doesn't get up for Boxing Day."

Hazlewood and other NSW members of the Test squad were due to arrive in Melbourne on Thursday after a pre-Christmas break.

Langer said Hazlewood chose to come to Melbourne and have his Christmas in the Victorian capital, with his girlfriend.

If Hazlewood misses out again, the likely pace battery for Boxing Day would be Cummins, Starc and Richardson, with allrounder Cameron Green and spinner Nathan Lyon completing the bowling attack.

"It's nice to have this nursery of bowlers, (which) we know can perform in Test cricket," Langer said.

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