Mitchell Starc is a feared bowler for a reason. He bowls in excess of 90 mph, swings the ball generously, offers tremendous control and strikes fear in the eyes of the opposition batsmen. All these attributes were displayed amply during the first day of the first Test against South Africa in Perth.
On a fast and bouncy WACA wicket, Starc struck in the very first over of the match as he had Stephen Cook brilliantly caught at gully by Mitchell Marsh. In the process, Starc created a new record. Cook’s dismissal was the seventh occasion that the left-arm pace bowler had struck in the first over of a Test match. During the series against Sri Lanka, he had taken a wicket in the first over twice.
Maintaining brisk pace and bowling around the short of a length area, Starc snaffled up South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis for 37 while he clean bowled Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn to finish with figures of 18.4-2-71-4.
Thanks to Starc’s efforts, South Africa managed just 242 on the opening day, thanks to an attacking 84 from wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and a gritty 51 from Temba Bavuma. In response, David Warner got Australia off to a fast start and at stumps, Australia had raced to 105/0 in 21 overs, with Warner unbeaten on 73.
Starc enjoys WACA
This is not the first time that Starc has put on a magnificent exhibition of fast bowling at the WACA. During the 2012 Test against South Africa, the left-armer picked up 6/154 in the second innings but Australia lost the match by 309 runs to lose the series.
During the Test match against New Zealand in 2015, on a flat pitch, Starc rattled Ross Taylor with extreme pace as Australia searched for wickets. At one point, he registered a speed of 160.4 kmph, making him only the fourth bowler to breach the 160 kmph land-mark.
Starc also has a wonderful ODI record at the WACA. In the 2013 ODI series against West Indies, he picked up 5/20 and 5/32 in two back-to-back ODIs to help Australia to big victories.
The left-armer has been one of the best bowlers in the world for the last couple of seasons. In the 2015 World Cup, he was the leading wicket-taker with 22 wickets in eight games while in Tests, he picked up 24 wickets in three matches against Sri Lanka.