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Australia will be sweating over the fitness of left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc as he is struggling with a calf issue just days ahead of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
Starc will be required to bowl during Australia’s training session on Tuesday after he missed the team’s centre wicket net practice.
Starc has a history of suffering injuries during Test series and should he be ruled out of the third Test, it is likely that Jhye Richardson or Chadd Sayers, both of whom have yet to make their Test debuts, will replace him in the playing XI.
Australia opener Cameron Bancroft is optimistic that Starc will be fit to bowl on Tuesday and feature in the third Test.
“Sometimes the bowlers just work their way into the games a little bit differently, his preparation might be a little bit different going into this game,” Bancroft was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “I think in the past, he’s bowled a couple of days out and had that third day as a bit of a rest day. Hopefully he’ll bowl [on Tuesday], I’m sure he’ll be ok.
“[Cummins and Hazlewood] bowled really well, they’re first-class campaigners and the beauty of being part of this team is you get opportunities to face in the nets a lot some of the best bowlers in the world and we have them. Today they were really good out there, had a few days off so they loosened up and got into things a bit slower, but by the first couple of balls they were back into full swing at full tilt.”
While Starc will be monitored closely, there was good news for Australia as all-rounder Mitchell Marsh bowled a few overs. While he wasn’t bowling at full pace, it was an encouraging sign since the 26-year-old is on the mend after being diagnosed with a groin strain.
“He’s had four really important days off as it has been for everyone, especially our fast bowlers who’ve spent a lot of time bowling over the past six months for us,” Bancroft said. “Mitch has been working through his stuff and had a bowl. I assume he’ll pick that up leading up to the game on Thursday and I’m sure he’ll be fine.”