Bancroft gives captain a Boxing Day Test injury scare

Steve Smith has sent an injury scare through the Australian camp but the captain is not in doubt for the Boxing Day Test.

The star batsman was struck on the hand by a shot from Cameron Bancroft in the MCG nets on Sunday. Smith later batted but was in visible discomfort.

Smith has been in outstanding form this series, where he has been the difference between the two teams. He is expected to play another major role in Melbourne on a pitch that is expected to stay true to form and yield plenty of runs.

Vice-captain David Warner said Smith would be a certain starter.

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with him, he's fine," Warner said.

"He was confused how it actually got there. I think we all were. It hit the top of the rail and then just flicked up.

"I was a bit worried because Smudge [Smith] said 'heads' and it actually hit him. I was a bit dumbfounded."

The hosts were given a boost with Tim Paine set to to play after linking up with the squad for Sunday morning's training session.

The wicketkeeper's arrival had been delayed after his father-in-law suffered a stroke during the week.

"It's a tough time for them. We're doing everything we can to get behind him and support the family," Warner said.

Jackson Bird will play his first Test in 12 months after Mitchell Starc was ruled out with a bruised heel.

England will make at least one change after Craig Overton failed to overcome a fractured rib sustained in Perth. South Africa-born seamer Tom Curran is expected to make his Test debut.

This story Bancroft gives captain a Boxing Day Test injury scare first appeared on The Age.