Bird is the word as Starc ruled out of MCG Test
MITCHELL Starc will miss the Boxing Day test after failing to recover from his bruised heel.
The big quick, the leading wicket-taker this Ashes series with 19 scalps, was ruled out just before the Aussies began training on Sunday morning.
As expected Jackson Bird will take Starc's spot as the single change for the Aussie line-up pushing to go 4-0 up against England at the MCG.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine joined his teammates on Sunday morning having caught an early flight from Hobart.
Paine had remained in Tasmania for an extra few days following the Perth win after his father-in-law suffered a stroke.
Josh Hazlewood will now lead the pace attack and said Starc, who has played just one Boxing Day Test since his Australian debut in 2011, was naturally disappointed.
"We were joking around but they are still a little bit off limits around Boxing Day. He has been unlucky," Hazlewood said.
Starc's availability for the fifth Test in Sydney remains unknown, but he has been urged by teammate Pat Cummins to be extra cautious with the injury.
Cummins endured a bruised heel bowling in his Test debut in South Africa in 2011, and it turned in to a stress fracture which led to extra time on the sidelines.
"It's one of those ones, you can't strap it differently, you can't bowl off the other foot. It's hard to hide from," Cummins said.
"You have to get it early enough and try not to really damage it. It's a long process to get it right."