Mitchell Starc is still our best new-ball bowler: Tim Paine

In the first game of the series where his bowling partner Pat Cummins ran riot, Starc once again failed to light up the wicket column.

Tim Paine
Tim Paine. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Sr. Staff Writer

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Mitchell Starc’s poor form with the ball perfectly sums up Australia’s dwindling fortunes in recent months. At a time when Australian cricket is in desperate need of seniors stepping up in the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith, Starc has cut a sorry figure. The left-arm pacer, who was the toast of the nation not very long ago, has lost his bite in recent times.

Whether it was the testing conditions of UAE or the known territory at home, Starc just could not rediscover his mojo that had made him one of the most feared bowlers in the world just a few months ago. He was one of Australia’s worst performers during the series against India. The left-arm pacer managed to take just 13 wickets in seven innings. His struggles continued against Sri Lanka too.

In the first game of the series where his bowling partner Pat Cummins ran riot, Starc once again failed to light up the wicket column. While Cummins ended the game with a staggering 10 wickets, Starc only had two wickets to show. He is averaging 46.68 with the ball in his last nine Tests. Not surprisingly, the poor returns with the ball has invited widespread criticism for the left-arm pacer. There has been a growing call for Cummins to take the new-ball duties from Starc.

However, ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka, Australia skipper Tim Paine has made it clear that Starc will continue to lead the team’s pace attack. “We’ve used Starcy (Starc) for a long time with the new ball and we think he is still our best new-ball bowler when he gets it right, so we’ll always give him the first few,” Paine said to reports on Thursday. “Hopefully he can swing a few and if he does we know he is more than likely to get an early breakthrough. What we have done is brought Pat on a lot earlier than what we have done in the past.”

“We’re still reasonably happy with his output. He’s not 100 per cent at his best but I think that’s a sign of how good a bowler he is that he’s still finding ways to pick up wickets at certain times,” he added.

Australia eye rare series win

Australia, meanwhile, will be looking to register their first Test series win since the last Ashes when they take on struggling Sri Lanka in the second Test, starting Friday. Tim Paine & Co. had lost the Test series against India 2-1 and will be desperate to end the home season with a morale-boosting win.

The momentum will be on their side following the heavy innings and 40-run win in the series opener. With Sri Lanka’s fortunes in Tests not good at the moment either, Australia have a good chance of registering a rare series win in recent times.

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