Australia optimistic about Starc despite injury scare

F.P. Report

DUBAI: Australia pacer Mitchell Starc faced two separate injury scares on the second day of the fourth Ashes Test against England at Old Trafford.

Mitchell Starc struggled with his shoulder and leg on the second day of the Manchester Test that saw England dominate. Starc was one of the few bright spots, first contributing a handy 36* with the bat and then picking up half of England’s wickets on the day.

Starc felt discomfort in his left leg a couple of times while bowling as well as after diving at the boundary. The left-arm pacer bruised his shoulder while fielding at mid-on later in the day, but he was able to walk off the field even though it initially looked bad after the tumble.

He returned an over later but left the field again after being unable to throw the ball from the boundary.

Australia’s assistant coach Daniel Vettori provided a positive update on Starc’s condition as he expected the 33-year-old to be fit to bowl on day three.

“The leg’s good, no issues there,” Vettori said. “I think shoulder, we saw what happened on the field. He’s currently got some ice on it and we’re pretty confident it will be right tomorrow.

“He’s one of those guys who doesn’t like to spend too long off the park, so he wanted to get on the field as quickly as possible to see how it was. But he got straight into a hot spot and three balls in a row got to him and he didn’t quite feel comfortable throwing it.

“I haven’t actually spoken to him but that’s what it looked [like]. We’re all pretty confident he can bounce back tomorrow.”

Australia were made to toil by England on the second day of the fourth Test, with Zak Crawley leading the way with a 182-ball 189. The third-wicket partnership between Joe Root and Crawley took the game away from Australia.

The pair added 206 runs in just 178 balls, operating a run-rate of 6.74, the highest for a 200-run stand in games where the number of balls has been recorded. Australia did manage to dismiss both the set batters in quick succession but at stumps, England finished on 384/4 with a healthy lead of 67 runs.