Starc pulls out of MCG Test with verbal bouncer for England

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England captain Joe Root has hit back at Ricky Ponting, insisting he has not led his team like a "little boy" and can be assertive when required. Some heal quicker than others, others tend to hang around for a period of time, so that's probably played a little bit on the conversations over the last couple of days, making sure that it isn't something that keeps me out for 10 more games, it's more a one fixture sort of thing.

"I don't like facing Jacko in the nets. he still bowls quick enough, I'm pretty sure he still bowls quicker than the Poms' bowlers".

The all-rounder, who has taken seven wickets in the series, was the final wicket to fall in Perth as Australia regained the Ashes in convincing fashion and acknowledged England need to "put in better performances" with the Boxing Day Test match starting on Tuesday.

"The way he answered a lot of the questions after the game last week seemed nearly like a little boy", said Ponting.

The crowd roared when I ran in to bowl, and it gives me tingles now just thinking about it.

"I know there are occasions where you might have to be quite strong in front of the group".

"You need to be more than that as a leader, especially when things aren't going well". The only time I think umpires should step in is if it is clear that a player can not cope with them.

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Confirming the news, Australian skipper Steve Smith said that Bird, who was the leading wicket taker in JLT Sheffield Shield with 25 scalps in four games for Tasmania this season, deserved the chance of selection.

"They have been completely blown away. You can't change anything - the way you land or try and get around it". Australia will be without star paceman Mitchell Starc due to a heel problem. We certainly (spent) a while thinking about it, trying to weigh up what was going to be the best way to go about it in these conditions and on this surface.

"He is also very skilful and, hopefully, he can have a really good work here".

Curran's elevation ahead of Wood was something of a surprise given England's pace bowlers have struggled in Australia, with stalwarts James Anderson and Stuart Broad both struggling to get any movement through the air or off the pitch, while their entire attack has been lacking in pace.

While the mood of the touring squad could have been rocked by the series result, Root insisted he and his team remained focused on ending the campaign with something to cheer about.

He followed that up with 2-110 in the Test match at the WACA.

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