Bleeding for his country! Mitchell Starc’s pristine whites were left bloodied as he battled through a dislocated finger to bowl against South Africa…and centurion Alex Carey joked the injury could have made the Aussie tackle quicker .
Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green overcame nasty finger injuries as Australia closed out a series win over South Africa at the MCG.
The former had blood pouring down his whites from his injured middle finger but still took the new ball in South Africa’s second innings as Australia reduced the tourists to 1-15 at stumps on the third day.
Starc suffered tendon damage after dislocating the tip of his middle finger on his left hand – his bowling hand – while trying to catch long in the second session on day one.
Mitchell Starc battled a finger injury on the third day of the second Test against South Africa
Green, meanwhile, suffered a broken finger after being hit in the glove by a 144kph delivery from Anrich Nortje late in the second day.
The two put aside their injuries and finished unbeaten on 51 and 10 respectively as Australia declared at 8-575 on day three, a massive lead of 386 runs.
Despite the blood on his whites, Starc, who earlier this month became only the seventh Australian bowler to take 300 Test wickets, stopped the speed gun north at 144kph as he opened the bowling for the second innings of Protease.
But the quick, who took two wickets in South Africa’s first dig, was visibly uncomfortable as he bowled the remaining three overs before rain intervened to halt proceedings.
The Aussie quick’s whites were stained with blood from his injured middle finger
Starc bled from his finger, which he injured while trying to catch long on on the first day
He suffered a tendon injury after dislocating the tip of his middle finger on his left hand
Speaking at the end of play, centurion Alex Carey joked that Starc’s injury seemed more of a threat than usual.
‘I was really excited about the way Starcy was bowling with that finger. He came in and hit the 140s and swung it,’ Carey, who made 111 to join the late Rod Marsh as the only other wicketkeeper from any country to score a Test century at the MCG, said.
‘So maybe it’s a good thing he has a dink on his digit.
‘I think he will bowl well the way he does […] the way he’s bowling I don’t have too many concerns in this test match.’
Cameron Green made an unbeaten 51 despite batting with a broken finger
Starc and Green were unbeaten at the crease as Australia declared at 8-575 on day three
But Green, who became the most expensive Australian in IPL history after being snapped up by the Mumbai Indians for $3.15million on Friday, will not be able to reunite with his injured teammate bowling in the second innings.
The all-rounder took his maiden Test five-for as Australia skittled the Proteas for 189 and was ruled out of the New Year’s Day Test in Sydney with a broken finger.
Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head may need to help with some part-time leg-spin and off-spin respectively, with Nathan Lyon the only fit front-line bowler along with the quicks duo of Pat Cummins and Scott Boland .
Pat Cummins (right) removes South Africa captain Dean Elgar (left) for a duck
Starc’s injury will also be closely monitored with Cricket Australia confirming in a statement that it will ‘re-assess the conditions at the end of the match’.
It is likely that Starc and Green will be given a long period of rest ahead of the four-Test series in India in February.
South Africa face a near-impossible battle to salvage this Test and the series as they chase Australia by 371 runs after losing captain Dean Elgar for a third-ball duck.
The Proteas have not scored more than 200 runs in an innings since their second Test against Bangladesh in April.