(Reuters) – Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the fourth Ashes test with a heel injury while England paceman Craig Overton will also miss the match in Melbourne with a fractured rib.
Starc sustained a bruised heel during the win in Perth as Australia took an unassailable 3-0 lead over England to re-take the urn and will be replaced by reserve seamer Jackson Bird, who last played in the corresponding fixture last year.
Although scans ruled that there was no serious injury to the 27-year-old, Starc believes that it would have been unfair to his team mates to play when not fully fit.
“It’s nice that we’ve won the series and we can play it a little bit safer. I might get another Boxing Day one day,” Starc told reporters on Sunday.
“I still feel like I could have played on it … but it would have put the other guys under pressure if I’d had to pull out midway through a game.
“I think common sense has prevailed. Jacko is bowling really well and I’m excited for him…”
England’s Overton was struck in the rib while batting in the second test at Adelaide and aggravated the area further while fielding in the series-deciding defeat last week with scans revealing the extent of the damage.
“Craig Overton has been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test against Australia with a fractured rib” the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Sunday.
England must now pick a replacement with Jake Ball, Mason Crane, Tom Curran and Mark Wood all eligible for the penultimate test, which begins on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)