Australian pacer Mitchell Starc’s bid to return to full tilt after a long injury lay-off and subsequent foot and ankle surgery in December 2015, received a massive boost as the left-armer bowled 17 overs and returned figures of 3 for 50 in the intra-squad practice match at P Sara Stadium in Colombo. Even as Starc takes small strides to regain his best form with the red ball, Australia’s stand-in bowling coach Allan Donald reckoned the left-armer will make the difference in Sri Lanka.
“Starc’s the one, without a shadow of doubt. He’s a 150 kmph bowler, he’s done it in the World Cup and in Twenty20 cricket. I’ve seen him destroy top orders, middle orders, lower orders doing that same thing from both sides (of the wicket),” Donald had earlier told cricket.com.au.
Starc made a comeback in One-Day Internationals (ODI) during the tri-series in West Indies where he bagged eight wickets in five fixtures. The fast bowler gave a good account of himself in Colombo on Thursday, bowling five maiden overs and probing the batsmen constantly before dismissing Joe Burns, Western Australia’s Hilton Cartwright and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Donald expressed delight at Starc’s leadership ability with the ball and called for enough support from the rest of the bowlers during the Test series.
“That’s where he is at, and that’s why he is the leading fast bowler in the world right now. He leads from the front, he just needs to be backed up by the rest of the group so there’s a lot of hard work over the next couple of weeks,” the former South African pacer had said.
A three-day fixture between Australia and Sri Lanka Cricket Board XI, starting on Monday, will give Starc another chance to gear up for the rigours of Test cricket again, with the first Test against Sri Lanka set to begin on July 26.