Australia captain Steven Smith has confirmed that pace spearhead Mitchell Starc will return for the fifth and final Ashes Test against England to be played in Sydney.
The 27-year-old missed the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne due to a soreness in his heel and was replaced by Jackson Bird, who had a tough outing after conceding 108 runs from 30 overs without picking a wicket.
Smith revealed that Starc returned to nets on Tuesday and felt no discomfort while bowling.
“Starcy’s pulled up pretty well this morning and said he’s ready to go so I guess that’s a good indication,” Smith told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“The break that he’s had from bowling has helped his heel heal, it’s coming on nicely, he’s confident. You’ve got to take the player’s words sometimes, and hopefully he gets through fine, if he gets the opportunity.”
Starc, who has 19 wickets from three games in the series so far is likely to be drafted in the place of Bird in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
Smith also indicated that left-arm-spinner Ashton Agar is unlikely to team up with Nathan Lyon for the Sydney game as he believes pace will be a decisive option once again.
“The wicket’s got a fair bit of grass and looks to be a pretty good wicket,” he added.
“I’d say we’d probably opt for just the one spinner. Nathan has done a terrific job throughout this series and I’d say we’d go that way.”
The fifth and final game of the series will be played between 4th and 8th January.
© Cricket World 2018