AUSTRALIAN fast bowling spearhead Mitchell Starc has bowled in the nets as he ramps up his bid to play the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney.
Starc missed the fourth Test at the MCG because of a bruised heel but is desperate to return for the SCG series finale.
The left-armer took part in fielding drills on Tuesday then spent over half an hour bowling off his full run-up.
Meanwhile, Steve Smith didn't train on Tuesday due to a sore back but the skipper is expected to have a hit on Wednesday then play the Test that starts on Thursday.
Starc, who rolled his arm over for a longer duration than Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Jackson Bird during the session, then had a long chat with the team doctor and physio.
"I haven't spoken to him but he looked like he was bowling quick, running around and not limping," Cummins told reporters.
"He's really keen to play and pretty confident he can play. They'll see how he recovers ... the last couple of weeks it's certainly got a lot better.
"He's played a lot of cricket now. He knows his body pretty well and what he can get through."
Selectors and medicos will take several factors into account before making a call on the express paceman, including the fact that Starc will be one of Australia's most important assets on their ensuing Test tour of South Africa.
"You'd love Mitchell Starc to be playing," pace icon Glenn McGrath said.
"If he's 100 per cent fit I'd play him. If he's not quite there then unfortunately they might have to let him have a rest and have him get ready for South Africa."
McGrath presented Smith's side with their baggy pink caps ahead of the 10th anniversary of the McGrath Foundation's partnership with the SCG Test.