Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Perth, 1st day November 3, 2016

A lot nicer to bowl on than Sri Lanka - Starc

Mitchell Starc said he is still trying to get his rhythm back after recovering from a deep cut sustained during training, but felt good getting through 18-and-a-half overs © AFP

Mitchell Starc summed up Australia's glee about the WACA pitch, and a commanding day one display, after his four wickets had helped spearhead the hosts to an early jump on South Africa in Perth.

Though he had scooped plenty of wickets in unhelpful conditions in Sri Lanka before being rested from the South Africa ODI tour, and was then laid up by a deep cut sustained in a training mishap, Starc was evidently delighted to be operating in conditions where all members of the Australian side felt very much at home.

"Better than last year," Starc said - with a grin - of the pitch, following the bore draw with New Zealand in 2015. "There was a bit in it for bowlers throughout the day. We even saw a couple jump off newish cracks towards the end. At the same time, [it is] a really fast outfield and a nice wicket if batsmen get in.

"It's a lot nicer to bowl on than Sri Lanka, that's for sure. All you're after is an even contest between bat and ball, and there was something in it [the pitch] throughout the day. If you put the ball in the right areas and made the batsmen play, your catchers were always in the game.

"There'll be enough in it throughout the whole Test match if you're willing to put the ball in the right area often enough. At the same time, if batsmen get in and want to take the game on, like Davey did tonight, there's plenty of runs out there. You couldn't ask for more from the opening day of the summer."

The wound Sarc had sustained is still open and requires daily cleaning, and he did not quite hit full pace across 18.4 overs. Nevertheless, his peak speed, just shy of 150kph, was slippery enough when allied to the bounce and pace on offer. "I'm still trying to get some of that rhythm and smoothness back," he said, "but to get through 18-and-a-half overs for the day felt good. My speeds were reading okay as well, so personally I was happy with the role I played.

"We bowled really well in partnerships for most of the day. There were stages where we bowled a little bit too short or a little bit too full, where they got away and batted well with a couple of partnerships. But to bowl South Africa out for under 250 was a pretty good day for the bowlers."

Helping too, was a fielding display far sharper than those in Sri Lanka. Mitchell Marsh plucked a sharp chance in the first over, before his brother Shaun later snaffled a stunner at short leg off Nathan Lyon. The ground fielding was also impressive, making South Africa work for every run.

"There's been a little bit made of our fielding," Starc said. "We always put a lot of work into that, and to hang onto some tough chances from the very first over probably lifted the boys a bit as well."

The day was rounded off by David Warner's acceleration, something Starc was able to enjoy from the vantage point of a dressing room far more relaxed at stumps than it had been in the morning.

"The way he can change the game with his little flourish of runs is where he does so well for us," Starc said. "To be none for 100 with Shaun Marsh building a solid partnership with Davey is fantastic for the team."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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