Mitchell Starc is ready to rip in at the WACA on Thursday, with the spearhead more concerned about the wicket than the open wound in his left leg.
Starc has been racing the clock to prove his fitness for the first Test since a training accident in September resulted in a severe cut that required 30 stitches.
The left-armer made his comeback in the Sheffield Shield last week, bowling 19 overs and fielding in the slips at the Gabba.
Starc insists he will be right to face South Africa in the three-Test series opener despite the 1cm gash beneath the bandage on his left leg.
“Clean it every day, put a patch on it and away you go,” Starc said, adding that he hoped a knee pad would allow him to slide and dive.
“It’s not bleeding, it’s healing nicely.
“Even if it does break open a little bit (more) it’s not going to affect me too much … it’s not going to play on my mind. My knee is structurally fine.”
Starc’s workloads will be monitored closely by Cricket Australia but the pitch in Perth will also govern how much he has to bend his back.
WACA curator Matt Page has vowed to leave more grass on the strip in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s dull draw.
However, it’s unlikely to have too much venom given Perth had its coldest September on record.
Starc won’t ever forget the “pretty disappointing” WACA wicket of 2015.
David Warner and Ross Taylor both posted double tons in the run-fest, while many suggested the docile deck fast-tracked the end of Mitchell Johnson’s stellar career.
“That was the toughest wicket to bowl on. It was so hard and flat and didn’t have that pace you’d normally see at the WACA,” the 26-year-old said.
“I hope it’s a lot better.
“Being the last big Test match at the WACA I think they’ll want to put on a bit of a show … show a little bit of the WACA of old and hopefully a bit of an extra bounce and pace.”
Starc felt it was a broader issue that deserved some attention.
“The wickets in Australia have got a lot flatter in Shield cricket and Test cricket over the years,” he said.
Starc, who has claimed the mantle of spearhead since Johnson’s retirement, clearly represents the biggest threat to the Proteas.
But star batsman Hashim Amla believes it would be foolish to focus too much on the express paceman.
“Mitchell Starc over the last year or two has been one of the best bowlers in the world,” Amla said.
“But .. if you put your emphasis on one particular bowler – it’s probably the most stupidest thing to do.
“We’ve got four or five guys who we’ll be trying to put a plan towards.”
Amla’s assessment follows a claim from South Africa batting coach Neil McKenzie that there is no “fear factor” about Australia’s attack.
“I’m happy for him to face me,” Starc said.
“It’s a lot easier making comments like that when you don’t have to face anything.
“We’ll all be trying to crank it up.”