AUSTRALIA look set to be without fast-bowler Mitchell Starc for the winter Ashes series after he was ruled out for “a prolonged period” with a stress fracture of his lower back.
Starc, 23, was the tourists’ third highest wicket-taker as England won the first of back-to-back Ashes series 3-0 last month and his injury is the third such blow to Australia’s pace attack.
“Mitch Starc had scans following his arrival back to Australia and they have shown an early stage low back stress fracture,” said Cricket Australia’s chief medical officer, Dr Justin Paolini.
“His management plan will be determined in the coming days but he is expected to be unavailable for a prolonged period.”
James Pattinson’s participation in England this summer was cut short and Pat Cummins has already been told he will miss the winter series, both due to lower back stress fractures.
Ryan Harris, another paceman, injured his hamstring in the first Ashes Test at the Oval, but Jackson Bird has been given the all-clear after he too flew home from England after complaining of back pain. Bird is expected to be available for the first winter Ashes Test, which starts in Brisbane on 21 November.
England face Australia in the third one-day international tomorrow.