Star Australia quick Mitchell Starc says he is a “good chance” to return for the second Test against India but admits he is no certainty after recovering from a broken finger.
- Mitch Starc missed last week’s heavy defeat in Nagpur with a finger injury
- Australia played just two quick bowlers in Nagpur, Pat Cummins and Scott Boland
- Australia has never won a four-Test series having gone 1-0 down
Starc has missed Australia’s previous two Tests after suffering the frustrating injury to his left finger while fielding off his own bowling against South Africa in December.
The 32-year-old was sorely missed in Nagpur last week as India smashed Australia by an innings and 132 runs to open the Border-Gavaskar series with a commanding win.
The tall left-armer stayed back in Sydney to recover, only arriving in India on Saturday, and joining up with his teammates in Delhi on Tuesday night ahead of the second Test starting on Friday.
Captain Pat Cummins and Victorian quick Scott Boland were Australia’s only fast bowlers in Nagpur, as all-rounder Cameron Green (broken finger) missed out, and new spin sensation Todd Murphy partnered veteran Nathan Lyon as the team’s slow bowlers.
“I’d like to be a little further down the road,” Starc said in Delhi on Wednesday.
“[I’m] still a good chance so it’ll come down to how it reacts by the end of [Wednesday], how the medical staff see it, how the selectors and Pat [Cummins] and Ronnie [coach Andrew McDonald] feel about it as well.
“I’ll do everything I can to be fully available for selection. Then it’s a discussion for the rest of the group involved.”
Starc said he planned to bowl “as normal” but admitted he was struggling to get the finger back to full strength.
“I don’t think [batting will be an issue] so it’s going to be uncomfortable but I don’t think it’s an issue,” he said.
“I think I’ll still field with a cap on [the finger]. That’s what I did in Melbourne [after initially breaking the finger] … I don’t field myself in slip anyway.”
Australia landed in the Indian capital knowing they need to win, or at the very least draw, to keep the blockbuster series alive.
They are confident they can bounce back in the spin-friendly conditions, despite never having won a four-Test series after going down 1-0.
India have not lost a Test at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium since 1987.
“Obviously a challenge of a week but we move onto the second Test and it presents a new challenge,” Starc said.
“I’m not sure we’ll see conditions change too much from last week with how the guys have discussed it.
“I think judging on the last couple of days, the wickets out the back are similar in many ways to what the centre is.”
Australia boldly dropped Travis Head, the world’s number four batter, for the first Test based on his poor record in Asia.
Peter Handscomb, in his first Test since 2019, performed serviceably at number six, but Matt Renshaw had a nightmare match with scores of zero and two batting in Head’s usual position.