‘Whole bowling unit performed well’

KARACHI: It was the day of Australia’s left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc who ripped through Pakistan’s top order when it took the prized scalps of Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam off two successive deliveries before taking the wicket of Sajid Khan to finish with figures of 3- 29 in 13 overs.

It was Starc’s lethal bowling which brought Pakistan under pressure in response to Australia’s massive total of 556-9 declared on the third day of the second Test here at the National Stadium on Monday.

Starc credited the whole bowling unit for such a fantastic effort which put Australia within sight of a victory. “I think the whole bowling unit today did well and the bowling partnerships were excellent,” Starc said in a virtual news conference.

“Micthell Swepson, the leggie, bowled ten overs and Sweppo picked a couple of wickets in Test cricket and played a significant role along with me and Pat Cummins in breaking the partnerships,” Starc said.

It was Swepson’s Test debut and he got his first wicket when he dislodged Babar Azam, before removing Shaheen Afridi to finish with 2-32 in nine overs. Starc was more awesome as he adroitly used the crease while bowling round the wicket. He was seen bowling mostly full which is his typical way of bowling and also got reverse swing that proved too hot for the Pakistani batsmen to handle.

“It was a pretty session, I will say,” said the 32-year-old Sydney-born pacer who is playing his 68th Test match. “During the last couple of days, the pitch deteriorated to some degree. We set up a good foundation today and yes it was fantastic,” Starc said.

He found Karachi’s wicket as more “abrasive” as compared to the one in Pindi where the first Test between the two nations ended in a tame draw as only 14 wickets fell in five days.

“It’s a much more abrasive wicket and there were a few cracks. There was also reverse swing as the squares are so dry as compared to Rawalpindi where there was grass on squares,” Starc said. “As the weather is dry and humid here so it has that effect,” Starc was quick to add. Asked whether he was part of the discussion when the team was making a decision not to enforce follow-on, Starc said he was not part of that. “No, I was not part of that discussion,” Starc said.

He said that their unit is experienced and has smartly adapted to the conditions. “There is a lot of experience in this group, although some fresh boys are there. There were a lot of conversations leading to this series and we faced different conditions but we adapted to them well,” Starc said.

This was the 15th time when Starc was on a hat-trick but missed it. He comprehensively beat Mohammad Rizwan but the batsman was lucky that the ball did not hit his blade. “Missed that way in Melbourne also. I got the ball away from Rizwan but it did not kiss his bat,” Starc said. Now Australia are 489 runs ahead and there is every chance that they will further stretch their total and save themselves first before inviting Pakistan to chase the target. Starc said it was a good opportunity for them to win this Test. “Yes, we will try our level best to win this Test match,” Starc said.

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