Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne December 21, 2012

Starc lifted by 'heart and soul' Siddle


Peter Siddle is taking on the mantle of leadership and example among Australia's bowlers that - until recently - Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey held for the batsmen.

Mitchell Starc attributed his much improved display on the final day of the Hobart Test against Sri Lanka to being lifted by Siddle's efforts, which matched his Herculean display against South Africa in Adelaide.

A prodigious talent, Starc is pleasing Australia's selectors, coaches and the captain Michael Clarke by gathering in consistency and nous each time he bowls in a Test, and also by staying fit when so many around him are falling prey to injury.

His fiendish burst of reverse swing on an uneven final day surface at Bellerive Oval was arguably Starc's best display to for his country to date, and he put much of it down to watching Siddle give his all in the spell that preceded it.

"Sidds was outstanding again in Hobart and was pretty much the heart and soul of the attack," Starc said. "For me just to follow on from him, I played pretty much a supporting role with Sidds there probably deserving 10 wickets. Not just the bowlers [are lifted by Siddle], the whole team is.

"Having him around the squad he's full of energy and he's always giving 100% whether it be in the nets or in the field and that drags the whole squad along. As he's shown in Adelaide, though unfortunately not getting over the line there, but again in Hobart pretty similar performances where he's given absolutely everything he's had. He's sat down and had nothing left after the game. It was great for him we got that result after what happened in Adelaide.

"When you have guys like Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey in the squad they bring so much energy and a different feel to the group. I think Sidds is well on the way to being someone like that, who just lifts everyone up. When he's on bowling you know something most likely is going to happen."

Starc's progress has been helped greatly by his developing durability, which has allowed him to be fit for selection whenever Australia's selectors have come calling over the past 12 months. By avoiding the treatment table, Starc is gathering in knowledge about his bowling, aided by advice from the likes of Wasim Akram, Jason Gillespie and the Australian bowling coaches past and present, Craig McDermott and Ali de Winter.

"That consistency is coming. I've got to find that balance between being over aggressive and containing one end. That will come, I'm still learning, I'm only 22," Starc said. "I'm taking it all in my stride and learning from each game. That's something we did from the game in Perth - I went for a few runs there.

"In Hobart we had 450 runs on the board so you can afford to be a bit aggressive there. As you saw I went for a couple of runs but we got the win in the end so we can take some confidence from that and being able to get that result even with a bowler down as well.

"Injuries are unfortunate, they seem to go hand in hand with fast bowling. I'm looking after myself doing all I can to stay on the park and make sure I'm recovering well and playing well. You can't worry too much about what the other guys are doing. Can't worry too much about what the others are doing but we're all preparing the way we can and stay on the park."

Despite his strong last-day form in Hobart, Starc may yet find himself carrying the drinks on Boxing Day in order to ensure he maintains his run of games without injury, the better to be fit for his home Test at the SCG from January 3. Mitchell Johnson and Jackson Bird are both a chance of being called into the Test side for the final match of 2012. However Starc is eager to bowl at the MCG, having also run the drinks in the corresponding match last year.

"It's always a big occasion the Boxing Day Test. If I get the nod to play for Australia again it's going to be a nice one to run out in front of a big crowd," Starc said. "Hopefully I can contribute again if I get the chance in Melbourne."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vaibhav on December 24, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    @Pras_punter... And yeah the great team of yours has lost how mny ashes in last 5 yrs or did it happen that the so called walkers and the players with the so called sportsman spirit claimed the catches which were not...and the excuse given was that they were not sure...why is it that all the conquering team of yours was hated somuch and why steve waugh had to come out with the spirit and the code your team followed amidst so much criticism of it......

    Your team won the matches coz at that point of time you did have some amazing players but why has that cockiness disappeared..The point I am trying tomake is that time does not remain same...have some modesty and let me know if I need to refresh your memory of some other exploits of your team on the field other than the ricket?

  • Mark on December 23, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    India will bounce back and become a good team again.Best of luck India.

  • narbavi on December 23, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    Aus fans trying their best to justify whatever happened in Sydney, we complain? yes we do, why do we complain? Because we were in a postion to win that test, but instead it got completely reversed and resulted in a loss, if you remember right, even the third umpire made a wrong call after seeing the replays, and how about claiming bump catches? Fair play uh?

  • Tim on December 22, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    Well Nabarvi at least now we can rest easy in the knowledge that a test like the Sydney one will never happen again. And I'm sure it's the only test in history that has had poor umpiring in it. At least India were able to return to Australia last year when the Aussies were at a low point and get some revenge with the DRS to help them out.

  • stuart on December 22, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    I have to say I am impressed by how much he has developed.during the last ashes he looked totally useless and he has come back very well. Being vegetarian has obviously done something for him. How come it does not work on Indian bowlers?

  • Prasanna on December 22, 2012, 18:22 GMT

    @OzWally. , spot-on Sir. That's pretty much my thought on what had happened in Sydney 2008. Surprisingly, indians are the ones who complain ( as usual as always ) about bad-umpiring. Here is a solution that has certainly improved decision-making - that is there for all to see - and again, indians are the ones who complain about that as well. Ah - i figured this out - they always need something to complain about !! Great stuff from them isn't it ?

  • Anthony on December 22, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    @Pras-Punter - good reply, I was still trying to translate. And isn't it funny that it takes just 1 home series win against Australia to equal the achievements of one of the best teams ever.

    And @Narbavi - what I remember about Sydney was an incredibly close finish with a few decisions that could have gone either way made by NEUTRAL umpires, then afterwards the Indian team threatening to pack up and go home (like spoilt little kids). Finally, you do remember why we have neutral umpires don't you? And if that is true about DRS, why is India the sole hold out?

  • Prasanna on December 22, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    @ vaibhavsharma100 , yes the miserable team beat SL 1-0 away, drew 1-1 with SA away, hammered your so-called greatest team on the planet 4-0 and beat WI 2-0 away ( Yes the same WI team against whom your "greatest" team couldn't chase down 85 runs in 15 overs with 7 wickets in hand ) in the last couple of years. And what have your team done in about the same time ? Got thrashed 0-8 away and 1-2 at home as well. And surprising to see the talk about sportsmanship coming from a supporter of a team that hardly respects the umpires, assume themselves as above the game.. and what not ? Enough said ?

  • narbavi on December 22, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    @Chris_P: You won the sydney test fair? Do u even know that the sydney test was the prime reason behind the introduction of the DRS?

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    The Australian cricket watching public has every right to expect that the national team is comprised of our best available players. Currently our best two bowlers, and by a huge margin, are Siddle and Starc. For CA to 'rotate' Starc out of the Boxing Day Test is a betrayal of supporters at a time when cricket attendances in this country appear to be on the slide. It's the same wooly-headed thinking that sees CA handle confidence players by kicking the confidence out of them (Phil Hughes in England). Starc must be extremely pissed off at the prospect of missing Boxing Day, which is always the biggest Test of the year for our cricketers. If CA is so worried about Starc's workload then cut down on his work off the field. I often think that modern sportspersons overtrain anyway, and cricket is a glaring example of training regimens put in place simply to justify the pay packets of the myriads of coaches and trainers.

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