Australia v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Adelaide, 1st day November 27, 2015

Starc suffers stress fracture in right foot

Mitchell Starc may miss the West Indies and New Zealand series in the new year, and even the World T20 © Getty Images

Mitchell Starc's troublesome ankle may finally have caught up with him, as Australia's spearhead was struck out of the bowling attack due to a stress fracture on day one of the inaugural day-night Test at Adelaide Oval.

After initially showing some signs of discomfort in his opening spell, Starc claimed three New Zealand wickets amid a strong display by Australia's pace attack. His final spell, however, lasted only one over midway through the day and he spent one over looking decidedly ginger fielding at backward point before retreating to the dressing rooms.

He went to hospital for scans, and after stumps it emerged that he had been diagnosed with the early stages of a stress fracture in the third metatarsal of his right foot. The injury is a major blow to Australia in this match and also clouds their plans for the new year - Starc may not be needed against a poorly West Indies, but he may now be doubtful for the tour of New Zealand and even the World Twenty20 that follows it.

Having previously required surgery for bone spurs in his right ankle in 2013, Starc was again afflicted by the problem during the Cardiff Test of this year's Ashes series. He recovered from that episode to take part in the rest of the series, but has since played under the cloud of his ankle eventually needing to submit to the surgeon's knife.

There was considerable discussion around Starc's availability for the tour of Bangladesh before it was postponed due to security concerns. As it turned out, Starc was able to bowl without needing to resort to painkillers during a barnstorming Matador Cup campaign: 26 wickets in six games at an average of 8.11.

However, his workload during the first two Tests against New Zealand was heavy, due in part to flat pitches at the Gabba and the WACA. In the Perth Test, both Starc and Josh Hazlewood bowled more overs in a single game than they had ever been put through in their careers.

Australia's captain Steven Smith seemed aware of this by using Starc only in short spells on day one, but by then it was already too late.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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