WOUNDED STARC LEADS AUSSIE HOPES
AUSTRALIA are pinning their hopes on wounded strike bowler Mitchell Starc and familiar home wickets as they look to halt a wretched run as their three-Test series against South Africa starting tomorrow. Starc will wear a knee pad to protect deep cuts on his left leg and his condition will be closely monitored by medical staff after he collided with training equipment in September, needing 30 stitches. He has been rushed back into action after Australia were routed 3-0 in Sri Lanka in July-August to lose their top Test ranking, and were then hammered 5-0 in a one-day series in South Africa to complete a miserable few months on the road. While the Proteas are missing their influential skipper AB de Villiers with an elbow injury, they have won their last two Test series in Australia, putting the hosts under added pressure ahead of the series opener in Perth.