Starc to be available for NZ tour
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc may yet be available for the tour of New Zealand early next year after examination of his broken right foot revealed he does not require surgery and will be able to resume training in less than a month.
Starc suffered a stress fracture in the third metatarsal of his right foot, something the assistant coach Craig McDermott said may have been as a result of compensating for the painful "impingement" or bone spurs in his heel/ankle. That issue has been affecting Starc since the first Test of the Ashes series earlier this year.
Apart from a brief, brave appearance while batting on the second afternoon, Starc has cut a disconsolate figure with crutches and a "moon boot" to support the injured foot. However McDermott said early fears about his availability for next year's early assignments had eased. Nevertheless, Australia must find other pace resources against West Indies in Tests and India in ODIs before the New Zealand tour.
"He's got a crack on the top of his foot," McDermott told ABC Grandstand radio. "He's had a heel impingement which may have affected that, who knows, trying to compensate for landing on his heel he may have put more pressure on the front of his foot and that's eventuated in a crack.
"The good news for us is it's not going to be as long as we thought, so he's going to be out for three weeks and then we can work on him from there. Hopefully we can get him up for the New Zealand series and the World Twenty20 where he's ranked No. 1 in the world.
"All the way through England and the one-day series he's had his heel impingement. In the last 12 months he's done an unbelievable job."
Running his eye over Australia's bowling stocks, McDermott mentioned the West Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile - suspended this week from Sheffield Shield cricket on a dissent charge - in addition to James Pattinson. He also spoke approvingly of Joel Paris and Billy Stanlake, though admitting both needed more match experience.
"James Pattinson went back to Perth and he gets to bowl tomorrow, the Vics are batting today, he was pretty close to playing here, so with him back we've got our three quicks and Mitchell Marsh," McDermott said. "After that we've got Nathan Coulter-Nile, if he can keep his tongue wired it would be great, and then we can get him involved if he bowls well enough as well.
"Certainly we wouldn't want too many more injuries, because then we get down past the blokes who are bowling 140kph plus, and that's the way we like to put our bowling attack together. Joel Paris is very skilful in all formats, he's had a bad run of injuries ... he just needs to make sure his pace is up. Billy's got the pace, but we need to get him through a fair bit more cricket before he gets into this sort of arena."
Australia's captain Steven Smith said that Starc would be missed, and also revealed that Peter Siddle had been battling against a back spasm for much of this match. While Siddle is expected to be fine for the first of thee Tests against West Indies in Hobart starting December 10, Smith forecast careful management of Australia's pace bowling resources over the remainder of the summer.
"He's had a bit of a flare-up in his back the last couple of days actually, so he's done a terrific job to be able to fight through that and everything else that's gone on this week to give a performance like he did," Smith said of Siddle. "To take 200 Test wickets it's a great feat and he should be really proud.
"It was tough to lose someone of the calibre of Mitchell Johnson, and Starc's been bowling exceptionally well. It was nice to see Joshy Hazlewood step up and really bowl well in this game, it'll give him a lot of confidence going forward. He's had a big workload over the last little bit as well.
"We're going to have to have a look at that, we don't want to break him, we've got a lot of cricket to play coming up in the next couple of months, so it might be a bit of a mixed load among a couple of players."
The Australian Test squad for Hobart is expected to be announced on Tuesday.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig