Ashes: Steve Smith unsure of Mitchell Starc’s participation in Melbourne
Mitchell Starc has taken 19 wickets across the first three Ashes Tests, but a bruised heel could mean the quick is rested in Melbourne as Steve Smith’s Australia eye yet another whitewash.cricket Updated: Dec 18, 2017 19:41 IST
Australia skipper Steve Smith is unsure whether Mitchell Starc will play any further part in the Ashes, after the fast bowler ended the third-Test victory in Perth with a bruised right heel. (ASHES SCORES)
Smith’s men reclaimed the famous little urn at the WACA on Monday, dismissing England for 218 to complete an innings-and-41-run victory that puts them 3-0 up in the five-match rubber.
Aftewards, Starc - the series’ leading wicket-taker with 19 scalps - made it clear to Smith he wants to feature in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Yet although the paceman was named in an unchanged Australia squad for the MCG, it is possible the hosts will draft in back-up seamer Jackson Bird now the series has been won.
“Having seen him just there, he just said, ‘I’m playing’. Whether he has a choice in the matter, I’m not sure, but he wants to play,” said Smith of Starc in his post-match news conference.
“I think he was a little bit sore. He said it didn’t get any worse when he was bowling, but I guess it’s something that we have to sum up.
“We’ve wrapped the series up here. We’d obviously love to win 5-0 and have the ‘Big Three’ [of Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins] going all the time, but we’ve also got an important tour to South Africa after this series, which we’d love to have him available for.
“We’ll see how he pulls up over the next couple of days. I’m sure that will determine which way we go.”
The pace of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins has been highlighted as a key factor in Australia’s success, with England lacking seamers able to bowl at similar velocity.
“I think here in Australia it certainly makes a difference on the flatter tracks, where there isn’t much sideways movement,” Smith added. “That extra air speed can make a big difference.
“We’ve worked really hard to ensure that we had these three big quicks on the park and ready for this series. A couple of them skipped the one-day series in India and we knew what was coming up. We were preparing for this series and we wanted those ‘Big Three’ on the park to do what they’ve done in the last three Test matches.
“A lot of praise has got to go to the medical staff for ensuring those guys are ready to go and also the selectors.”
Australia remain on course to record a third 5-0 whitewash of England in four home Ashes series and Smith added: “I’d love to do that. I was part of the series back in 2013-14 when we did that and it was an amazing part of my life.
“Right now, I’m just really satisfied with what we’ve achieved in these first three Test matches. It’s been remarkable.”
First Published: Dec 18, 2017 16:52 IST