Australia have been a step above England in the ongoing Ashes 2017-18 series at home and despite seeing the visitors mustering 403 runs in the first innings of the 3rd Test at the WACA in Perth, they hit back strongly.
A lot of the credit for keeping them just past the 400-run-mark, and not more, goes to Mitchell Starc. The left-arm pacer has been in tremendous form in the series and have stepped up to the task as he continues to deliver for Steve Smith’s side so consistently. Familiarity of the leading fast bowler with Mitchell Johnson’s Ashes success in 2013-14 is already doing the rounds as he has looked to take over the command from the former legendary bowler.
England looked to race away to get an emphatic total in the 3rd Test after a blistering Day 1 performance, that saw them post 305/4 at stumps. Credit goes to Starc & Co. to get the remaining six wickets for a paltry 98 runs and swing the momentum in Australia’s favour. A big chunk of the cake goes to Starc for carving out the menace and handing his side a platform to gain momentum from there on. The Aussies did just that!
Starc has already picked 18 wickets so far in the series and looks likely to reach Johnson’s figure of 37 wickets in the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash by the Aussies over England. At the WACA, Starc was instrumental once again and bowled superbly to finish with figures of 4/91. To be said his wicket of centurion Johnny Bairstow was a crucial point in the game and from there on the Aussies breathed more comfortably.
Johnson back in 2013-14 mastered the art of short-pitched bowling and with the venomous pace he bode, he wrecked apart the visitors to earn worldwide respect. Starc is maneuvering in the same path and what is more notable is that the Aussie bowling attack this time around hasn’t quite reached its full potential than it was back then in the last Ashes series Down Under.
With 18 wickets at an average of just 19.77, Starc embodies a great feeling to have risen up and doing what Johnson did earlier. Out of his 18 wickets, 8 of them have come against the lower order, especially the numbers from 8-11. Keeping that aside, he has tormented the batters too. He got Alastair Cook in his 150th Test with some serious pace. Mark Stoneman fell prey to his short-pitched stuff before he dislodged Bairtsow’s middle stump.
Bearing in mind that Johnson had 19 scalps during the same given period, Starc has shown he can easily get to the total of 37 with a lot of bowling remaining. The Aussies are already 2-0 up and with their skipper leading the show at the moment, they can well go on to win the Perth Test and seal the series. The 27-year-old has been an undisputed leader of the Aussie pace attack that resembles some serious pace to hurt any opposition.
Johnson led the attack back in the last series at home with Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris providing the supporting role’s act. The former legend’s performance broke the English spine and earned him reputation as one of the world’s best ever with some fiery spells in every game. Johnson made a comeback after being out of Tests for a while and Starc here too comes back after nursing injury.
Prior to this match, Starc had already issued a warning to the English team especially with what lies ahead for them in dealing with the Aussie pacers coming into the Perth Test. According to a report in The Guardian, the pacer said that all the bowlers compliment each other as they collectively then set out to perform convincingly.
“Gazza [Lyon] is bowling outstandingly at the moment. That allows the other three of us to do what we need to do from one end if need be.Then Josh does what he does and allows Pat and me to bowl as fast as we want. I hope we see a nice, fast, bouncy wicket – a Waca of old – and we can get stuck into their batters again,” said the 27-year old.
On the 2nd day of the Test, they did just that. It will be crucial for Starc to get at the visitors innings by innings and with the form he has found himself in, Johnson will soon have his younger mate joining him to be considered as one of the best ever Ashes bowler.