Mitchell Starc types Australian brand of cricket with his intimidating pace and style. He is one of the finest bowlers in the international circuit and has been a force to be reckoned across formats. One just cannot afford to underestimate Starc and step a foot wrong when he is putting in the hard yards. The margin for error against a bowler of his calibre is minimal. He is deadly with the new ball as well as with the old one and equally effective against the top-order as well as against the tail. In fact, Starc has the ability to run through the tail, which is rare.
In the ongoing Test at Brisbane, Starc cleaned up the English tail with ease. England lost last four wickets for just 10 runs and within 20 deliveries, which made a lot of difference to their total. Starc had a huge role to play in this collapse. After picking three wickets in the first innings, Starc once again belted three for 51 in the second.
Australia decided to play three seamers for the series opener, which paid off convincingly. They are all set to gain a healthy 1-0 lead as they were on the brink of a scintillating victory at stumps on Day 4. Australia were up to the mark in the second innings and did well to put England on the back foot.
Talking about tail-enders, not all the teams are capable of getting rid of them quickly. The runs garnered by them are always frustrating for the opponent and bonus to the one getting it. They are no less than a thorn in flesh and at times, very difficult to get rid of. With the evolving standard of cricket, a team has mind-boggling depth in their batting and most of the tail-enders can bat.
On most of the occasions, a bowling side may lose the steam and rhythm against the tail-enders. But bowlers like Mitchell Starc, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Rashid Khan and few more have mastered the art of cleaning the tail. in fact, Starc is arguably the most deadly white ball bowler and has the potential to rip apart the tail-enders.
Day 4 was crucial for both the sides and probably the day that would have decided the fate of the Test. England ended Day 3 at 33 for 2 and needed a competitive target to challenge Australia’s struggling batting in the fourth innings of the match. One shouldn’t forget, barring Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh, none of the Australia’s recognised batsman crossed the 50-run mark. A target of around 250 would have been a different ball game altogether and certainly tested Australia’s batting.
Australia needed wickets and early wickets. After Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon did the damage in the middle, Australia were delicately placed at 185 for 6. Things were pretty much under Australia’s control, but a quite 50-run partnership would have turned the table around. At the crease were Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes, who were well capable of getting the job done. Both the batsmen got a solid start and were quietly building a partnership.
Starc charged in and got the better of Chris Woakes with a shorter one and the partnership was broken. Moments later, Bairstow fell to a trap as he guided a short delivery outside off-stump straight to Peter Handscomb at third man. Three deliveries later, Broad nicked a fuller one straight to Tim Paine behind the stumps and gave Starc his third wicket. The damage was done and England were now finding themselves in all sorts of trouble.
Starc has also warned the English side to be aware of such stuff in the matches to come. Starc was quoted by the guardian.com saying, “We have spoken about their tail. The way our boys bowled against them four years ago (in the 5-0 whitewash) is the blueprint and they can expect some more stuff as the series goes along”
There were suggestions about giving Chad Sayers a run in the Adelaide Test and providing some breathing space to the premier bowlers due to excess load. But Starc insisted on playing the same squad. He was quoted by smh.com.au saying, “ I think we bowled about 50 overs every Test match last summer and that was a six-Test summer. I don’t see why it’s any different this summer. As far as I know, we’re all going pretty well. I’d expect it to be the same squad and same line-up going into Adelaide as well.”
Starc has been a vital cog in this Australian attack and earned a reputation. What makes him so deadly? The fact that Starc can swing the new ball and produce toe-crushing yorkers at will makes him an unstoppable force. He is the leader of this pace attack and England will certainly have a tough time in confronting him, especially the tail.