England were handed a boost ahead of their third Ashes test at Headingley on Thursday after the announcement that Steve Smith would be missing for Australia.
Smith misses out after suffering concussion during the first innings of the second test at Lords, when the 30-year-old was hit in the neck by a 92mph bouncer from Jofra Archer.
Despite the blow to the neck, Smith was allowed to conclude his first innings after passing a concussion test.
Australia coach Justine Langer confirmed the influential player would be absent during the third test after sitting out training on Tuesday.
Smith has scored 142, 144 and 92 in the three innings he has faced so far in the series.
Questions have arisen as to how Smith was allowed to return to the crease after the blow to his neck, with Brain injury charity Headway saying it was “incredibly dangerous” for Smith to resume his innings.
“You need to take an ‘if in doubt’ approach,” said Headway deputy chief executive Luke Griggs.
“With concussion, the vision can be blurred and the brain can be slow at processing information. That leads to delayed reaction times and is just incredibly dangerous.”
Mitchell Starc has warned England that they should expect things to go from bad to worse for the remainder of the winter’s Ashes.
Starc has been in blistering form, taking 14 wickets in Australia’s two victories so far, and believes he and his colleagues have the scope to step it up another gear when the series heads to Perth.
England have not won in Perth since 1978, and Australia only need victory their to regain the Ashes with an unassailable 3-0 lead – regardless of what happens in the final two tests after.
The Aussie bowler is already licking his lips at the prospect of putting England under immense pressure, on a pitch which has been long renowned for being one of the world’s quickest.
“The exciting thing is our bowling group can still get better,” said the 27-year-old left-armer.
“We’ve obviously managed to take 40 wickets in the last couple of weeks and do some really good things, but I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”
Starc added: “‘Gazza’ (Lyon) is bowling outstandingly at the moment.
“That allows the other three of us to do what we need to do from one end if need be.
“Then Josh does what he does and allows Pat and me to bowl as fast as we want.
“I hope we see a nice, fast, bouncy wicket – a WACA of old – and we can get stuck into their batters again.”