SYDNEY – Left arm quick Mitchell Starc will replace injured seamer Mitchell Johnson in Australia’s lineup for the fourth and final test against India at Sydney starting on Tuesday.
Johnson, the reigning ICC Cricketer of the Year, has a slight hamstring problem which the hosts decided was not worth risking. Australia holding an unassailable 2-0 lead in the ongoing series.
“I think there’s no secret there’s a pretty big summer coming up,” Australia captain Steve Smith told reporters on Monday at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
We want him to be fresh for the one-dayers and World Cup coming up. We don’t want to risk him.”
In announcing the change at his customary captain’s pre-Test press conference, Steve Smith said he was confident that Starc would step up to the challenge of taking over from Johnson, although he pointedly stopped short of confirming Starc will be given the new ball.
“I’m still deciding,” Smith said. “We’ll see tomorrow.
“We’ve seen the way Mitch (Starc) has gone back to the Big Bash. He’s bowled exceptionally quick. We’re looking hopefully for some of the same of what he’s produced in the Big Bash this week. If he sustains that for long periods, if he can keep that kind of pace up and sustain it throughout the whole day he’s going to be an amazing bowler.”
Starc, who took two wickets and hit a 50 in the four wicket victory at Brisbane, was named ahead of fellow quick Peter Siddle and spinner Ashton Agar.
The tall 24-year-old has taken 45 wickets in his 14 previous tests.
The Australian team: Steve Smith (C) Brad Haddin (VC)), Chris Rogers, Dave Warner, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns, Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
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