Smith backs Starc for first Test

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Australia captain Steve Smith expects to have paceman Mitchell Starc for the first Test against South Africa.

Starc, 26, has been sidelined since early September after suffering a leg injury in a freak training accident.

The left-armer is set to line up for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield game against Queensland starting Tuesday.

Coming through that should set Starc up to face South Africa in Perth beginning November 3, according to Smith.

"He hasn't done as much bowling as we would've liked to get into his body so he's going to be on some restrictions this week," Smith told a news conference on Monday.

"But I'll take care of him and make sure everything's all right for that first Test match."

Australia's most recent series saw them suffer a 5-0 one-day international whitewash at the hands of South Africa.

But Smith played down the impact of that ahead of the three-Test series.

He said: "It's a completely different format of the game. We've got our two big guns back with Starc and [Josh] Hazlewood with the bowling.

"I think the batters were probably a little bit disappointing. We had all of our batters there and we weren't able to do the job so from that aspect it was a bit disappointing.

"But I've moved on from that now, it's about focusing on this summer and Test cricket."