Mitchell Starc is Australia's key bowler in this Ashes © Getty Images
Mitchell Starc is Australia’s key bowler in this Ashes © Getty Images

Cardiff: Australia are optimistic fast bowler Mitchell Starc will be fit to face England in the second Ashes 2015 Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday. The left-arm paceman suffered a right ankle injury during the series opener in Cardiff and needed pain-killing injections to finish the game, which England won by 169 runs with more than a day to spare on Saturday to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.

With just four days until the second Test gets underway, concerns had been voiced as to whether Starc, who was Australia’s leading bowler at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens with seven wickets in 40.1 overs, would have sufficient time in which to recover. READ: Ashes 2015: Darren Lehmann hints at potential changes ahead of 2nd Test at Lord’s

Australia do have experienced fast bowler Peter Siddle, who didn’t play in the first Test, in a squad which lost fellow right-arm quick Ryan Harris on the eve of the Ashes wen the veteran bowler announced his retirement from all cricket because of a knee injury. READ: Ashes 2015: Australia needs serious introspection after humiliating defeat to England in 1st Test at Cardiff

But team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris tried to allay fears over Starc’s fitness by telling reporters on Sunday: “We will monitor him over the next few days but the plan is for him to take part in some light training.”

Kountouris added: “Mitchell experienced some pain in the back of his right ankle during the Test match which is common with fast-bowlers. He was in discomfort while bowling but since then has improved significantly. We are hopeful he will be available for selection for the second Test beginning on Thursday.”

Pat Cummins, added to the squad after Harris’s retirement, has not played a first class match in nearly two years because of injury problems. Cummins is unlikely to feature at Lord’s but could play in the tour match against Derbyshire starting on July 23. “We’re lucky enough to have a few (fast bowlers) waiting in the wings. Patrick Cummins has joined us and he’s ready to go,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said Sunday.

“Peter Siddle has played a lot of Test cricket,” he added of the 56-times capped 30-year-old Victorian stalwart. “We’ll have to wait, weigh up and see how Mitchell Starc goes in the next couple of days and make a decision. But we’ve got enough armoury to get 20 wickets.”