‘There will be a level of discomfort’ – Starc happy with where is at ahead of Test return

Mitchell Starc will be feeling discomfort in his injured finger for some time to come, but is primed to make his Test return in Indore as Australia look to find a way to halt the India juggernaut.

“It’s good enough,” Starc said of his finger. “There’s going to be a level of discomfort… I don’t think it is going to be 100% for a little while, but the ball is coming out quite nicely and I feel like I’m pretty much at full tilt.

“It’s more the discomfort of the joint being restricted having been in a splint for six weeks and still having to be in a splint for another couple of weeks yet. That’s probably the only part – dealing with the discomfort of it, getting the mobility back into it. That’ll come over the next couple of weeks and it’s progressed again, it’s a progression each day I bowl. It’s not a concern for me, the comfort levels – it’s doing what I need it to do to be available to play.

“It wouldn’t be the first Test match I’ve played in some sort of discomfort. If I only played when I was at 100%, I would have only played five or ten Tests. I’m happy with where it’s at and I’ve built up enough of a pain threshold to deal with that stuff over the last 10 or 12 years.”

Unlike Cummins in Delhi, Starc should not have to shoulder the pace bowling alone, with Cameron Green also set to play for the first time in the series, allowing Australia to finally be able to select a side with whichever balance they wish, having had to make compromises in the first two matches. Currently, the likelihood is that the three frontline spinners used in Delhi would be retained, provided Todd Murphy has no reaction to the minor side issue he suffered last week.

“Being a left-armer is slightly different and obviously with the footmarks I can produce as well. Certainly produce more than the Indian guys with being a bit heavier at the crease”

Mitchell Starc

Starc does not have too many fond memories of bowling in India, where his four Tests split across two previous tours have brought seven wickets at 50.14. Australia’s quicks are yet to have the same impact as India’s in this series – particularly Mohammed Shami, who has been a threat with new ball and old – but Starc was hopeful of having a say with his airspeed and angle even if spin remained dominant.

Two days out from the start, there was a significant patch of grass in the centre of the Holkar Stadium pitch with the ends looking dry.

“It’s been a challenge for the first two Tests,” Starc said. “We do see spin playing a huge part having said [that,] the quicks still do have a part to play with the new ball [and] if it does reverse, being able to bowl that skiddy ball and bringing the stumps into play. There’s certainly an important role to play for the seam bowlers as we’ve seen with the Indian guys, and Pat has been attacking at times as well with the ball.”

Starc’s return will also be a boost for Australia’s two offspinners, Murphy and Nathan Lyon, with the rough he will create outside the right-handers’ off stump, although whatever is available for them will also be of use to R Ashwin.

“Being a left-armer is slightly different and obviously with the footmarks I can produce as well,” Starc said. “Certainly produce more than the Indian guys with being a bit heavier at the crease.”