Green set for operation, Starc pushing time for India

Team medicos are confident Cameron Green will be available in time for a highly anticipated tour of India, however Mitchell Starc faces a potentially longer period on the sidelines

Cameron Green will go undergo surgery in the coming days but it is Mitchell Starc who faces a longer recovery period and could be pushing time to be fit for the start of Australia's upcoming tour of India.

Both Green and Starc suffered serious finger injuries during the NRMA Insurance Boxing Day Test against South Africa and, after both were forced to perform their primary skills under significant duress at the MCG, the pair will now be sidelined for the series finale in Sydney.

Green will go under the knife to repair a fracture to his right index finger having consulted with a specialist on Thursday, but medicos are confident the allrounder will be available again in about four weeks, around when Australia are set to fly out for the four-Test India campaign.

Green struck on finger by rapid Nortje bouncer, retires hurt

Starc on the other hand is not expected to require an operation for the tendon damage and small fracture to his left middle finger, yet the paceman is in doubt to be available for the India series opener on February 9 in Nagpur.

"India's the next big tour and we'll see where the timeframe is with that. It's my bowling hand so I've got to be pretty careful and make sure it heals properly," Starc told cricket.com.au.

"The irony is (Green) will be back before I am. Bones are a bit quicker in the healing process, the tendon is a little bit different. I think we'll both be seeing the same specialist.

"I still think everyone's confident it will be more front-end (than back-end of the India tour that Starc will be right for). It will obviously depend on how it heals and how quickly it can do what it needs to do."

Starc heads off after uncomfortable catching attempt

Both players will be vital to Australia's fortunes in India; Starc is the Test side's quickest bowler and one of the world's best reverse-swing bowlers, while captain Pat Cummins has labelled Green's mix of middle order batting and frontline seam bowling as "irreplaceable".

Starc said he will need to get "creative" in how he prepares for India given, apart from his damaged finger, he is fully fit and otherwise able to physically handle bowling.

The left-arm quick bowled through considerable pain in the Proteas’ second innings but refused a numbing injection to the digit, instead relying on a healthy dose of painkillers to help the Aussies to series-clinching victory at the MCG.

Proteas crumble again as Aussies complete huge MCG win

Starc, who suffered the injury while fielding on Boxing Day, sent down more overs than any other paceman in the Test in an effort lauded as "brave" by his captain.

Cummins joked he had been expecting to Starc to bowl "Nathan Bracken 125 (kph) swingers" when he took the ball for the first time post-injury on day three, but he found considerable swing and pace as he chipped in with the wicket of Sarel Erwee.

Medical staff were confident Starc would do no further damage to the injured finger, unlike Green who was sidelined from the bowling crease after his courageous half-century with the bat on day three.

"I wasn't sure what to expect," Starc said. "I need the middle finger for control more than anything.

"I've had a lot of painkillers. I could have jabbed it but I feel like I need the feeling of the ball on finger, otherwise I feel like I would have been spraying it everywhere."

Image Id: 6BE453A3F90F4BF8802D14B11FB87F00 Image Caption: Starc’s damaged finger on his bowling hand // Getty

Starc was quite the sight as he bowled on days three and four, with his pants bloodied from seeping cuts on his hand. 

That was partially due to a separate issue he has had, having cut his left hand on his bowling spikes three times over the past six months due to a technical change that his changed his arm-path in his follow through.

The first time he did it in Sri Lanka he was forced to miss two T20Is and the entire five-match ODI series.

Starc was determined to carry on at the MCG, however, after Australia's attack was challenged during the opening Test of the summer when Cummins could not bowl in West Indies' second innings.

"I've played with a broken foot before … it's Test match cricket," said Starc. "I've been on both sides of being injured and then (bowling as part of an attack) with one man down.

"Having Greeny with a busted finger as well probably helped that decision to try to push through.

"Especially with the bowling side of things, we had the whole second innings to go and it would have been tough to have just three bowlers.

"We saw it in the first Test of the summer when one goes down the residual effect on the other guys. Thankfully we weren’t in that position this week and it looks like everyone else bar Greeny and I will be healthy for Sydney."

Men's NRMA Insurance Test Series v South Africa

First Test: Australia won by six wickets

Second Test: Australia won by an innings and 182 runs

Jan 4-8: Third Test, SCG, 10.30am AEDT

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner

South Africa squad: Dean Elgar (c), Temba Bavuma, Gerald Coetzee, Theunis de Bruyn, Sarel Eree, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo

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