Rested Starc 'absolutely shattered' to miss out
Ousted fast bowler Mitchell Starc says he is "absolutely shattered" after he was dropped as part of Australia's contentious rotation policy for the second Test against Sri Lanka at the MCG, beginning on Boxing Day.
Starc, who played a key role in guiding Michael Clarke's team to a win in the opening test in Hobart, has been replaced by debutant Jackson Bird, who will share the new ball.
"Absolutely shattered... Massive game, good luck to Birdy on debut, he will do an amazing job! Backing the Aussie boys to go 2-0 up this week!" Starc wrote on Twitter.
Bird, 26, has been the leading wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield in the past two seasons, claiming 87 wickets at 19.72.
"I am going to open the bowling, I am looking forward to that," Bird said.
"In the past 18 months I have been pretty successful in first-class cricket. I have a pretty good record here at the MCG as well and I guess there is always an element of luck in there as well - there are a few injuries going around.
''I feel like I am ready for test cricket and hopefully I can repay the faith of (coach) Mickey (Arthur) and the selectors.''
Arthur said Jackson had "all the attributes of a quick bowler."
''He brings line and length. He brings pressure, he swings the ball out, he brings some nice pace,'' he said.
Starc had said he did not wish to be rested but Australia's medical staff, using fitness data, believed the tall left-armer would be more susceptible to injury, despite playing just two tests in a row, had he taken to the field in Melbourne.
Despite analysing the ''well-being'' reports of players, which is logged with such details as sleep and health issues, Australia already has seven fast bowlers injured. It would have been highly embarrassing had another been hurt.
''That's a real tough decision to make, it's a tough conversation and Mitch took it very well,'' Arthur said.
''He is clearly very disappointed and I wouldn't expect anything other than that.
''Mitch is our one quick bowler that plays in all three forms of the game.
''We've got to be very mindful that we have a lot of cricket coming up and such a lot of important cricket coming up and Mitch will be integral to that as well.
''It's tough on Mitch. Hopefully he misses one test to make sure that we don't have another injury and that he's ready to go for the one-dayers and is ready to go for the tour of India and he is ready to go for the Ashes.''
However, the rotation policy is an issue within the team, with Mitchell Johnson admitting serious reservations about it on Sunday.
There is still doubt over the fitness of captain Michael Clarke, recovering from a hamstring strain.
He batted in the MCG nets for 15 minutes and, according to coach Mickey Arthur, is only a ''50-50'' bet to play.
Clarke has said that he is ''confident'' of playing, and will be given until Wednesday morning to prove his fitness.
''We will give him until the very last minute before we make that call,'' Arthur said.
Shane Watson will take charge if Clarke pulls out.
Australian team: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson (vc), Mike Hussey, Matt Wade, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird
Sydney Morning Herald