England buoyed by Starc absence
Australia have confirmed Mitchell Starc will be out of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne after he picked up a heel injury.
Starc has been in sensational form for the Aussies throughout the series, taking an impressive 19 wickets, and his absence will be sorely missed by a side that is aiming for a second consecutive 5-0 whitewash over the English on home soil.
The 27-year-old's fast bowling has proven to be a constant chink in England's armour and his delivery to dismiss James Vince in the recent victory at the WACA has been described by many as the "ball of the century".
Joe Root's men, who have received huge criticism for their performances Down Under, will be hoping to take advantage of this injury news and triumph in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Starc has been replaced in the team by 31-year-old Jackson Bird for the match at the MCG, with him set to play in his ninth Test and his first appearance in the longest format of the game since 2016.
The Sydney-born star has taken 34 wickets across those eight games at an average of 27.47 and he will be aiming to put in a good performance to retain his place for the final Test.
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.