Starc ruled out, Bird in for Boxing Day Test against England
Melbourne: Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc was on Sunday ruled out of the fourth Ashes Test with a heel injury and will be replaced by Jackson Bird.
Starc, who is Australia's leading wicket-taker in the series with 19, bruised his heel bowling in Australia's series-clinching third Test win in Perth last week.
There wasn't enough time for him to recover from the injury to his landing foot, with team management officially ruling him out two days before Tuesday's Melbourne Test.
While Starc had been optimistic about his chances of playing, Australia's selectors took a cautious approach with their star paceman ahead of a key series against South Africa early in the new year.
Starc said he hoped to return for the series-ending Sydney Test on January 4.
"It's never nice to miss but it would be pretty selfish of me to go in to a game not at 100 percent," he told reporters.