Australia are set to rest weary paceman Mitchell Starc from the final two games of their one-day series against England, coach Darren Lehmann has all but confirmed.
Starc has played in all 26 of Australia’s matches this calendar year across all formats, and on Tuesday notched career-worst figures of 1-79 in the heavy loss in Manchester.
Tuesday’s loss left the series evenly poised at 2-1 in Australia’s favour, and makes the Leeds clash all-the-more important – however it is believed Australia feel they will be better served without the fatigued quick.
Lehmann admitted Australia had planned to give Starc a break midway through the series, but those plans were thrown out following the hamstring injury which forced fellow paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile to fly home after game two at Lord’s.
“We wanted to try and get him home if we could,” Lehmann said ahead of Friday’s game four showdown in Leeds.
“(The plan was to) play a couple of games and bring in a younger bowler again.
“It hasn’t played out that way so we’ll just sum it up from here.
“…his workload over the past 12 months has been exceptional. We’ll see whether he plays or not (on Friday).”
Should Starc be rested, veteran John Hastings looms as the logical replacement.
Hastings, who was called up as Coulter-Nile’s injury replacement, last played an ODI in 2011 and was rewarded for fine form with county side Durham this winter.
Meanwhile England all-rounder Chris Woakes has been ruled out of the final two matches of the series due to a thigh injury.
Woakes featured in the first three games of the series but didn’t take a wicket.
Left-arm seamers Reece Topley and David Willey are in contention to replace Woakes, with the latter a more like for like replacement given his superior batting.