Hazlewood and I have to work harder to find a place: Starc
Mitchell Starc, the Australian pacer, welcomed the jostling for places in the bowling unit after he and Josh Hazlewood had to sit out of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston. The pace trio of Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson bowled with discipline and penetration, while Nathan Lyon ran through England's batting order in the second essay as Australia took a 1-0 lead in the Ashes with a comfortable 251-run win.
Incidentally, Starc had taken a 10-wicket haul for the match against Sri Lanka in Canberra, earlier in the year. However, Australia have looked at tinkering with their bowling combinations based on conditions during the ongoing tour of England. "We're here to win the Ashes," Starc said on Friday. "We're not just here to make it on the park. We want to win this Ashes. Whether that's a different bowling attack each game, or the same through five Test matches, it's pretty exciting. It makes Josh and I have to work that bit harder to try and make it back as well, which I think you want from a whole squad," he added.
Starc was also happy for his teammate, Pattinson, who returned to the Test arena after a gap of more than three years. The fiery fast bowler has been laid low by a string of career-threatening back injuries. In October 2017, the Australian camp decided that the pacer would undergo a spinal surgery in a bid to fix the issue. The surgery involved grafting from the paceman's hip in order to add it to the vertebrae with screws.
"It's awesome to see Jimmy (Pattinson) back after what he's been through and I guess similarly what Pat Cummins has been through previously. It's a while ago now but to have those guys back fit and firing... it was fantastic to see him (Pattinson) playing Test cricket again. Having his body let him down and to come back and play Test cricket again was pretty special.
"He's someone who Josh and I have grown up playing with and against, it was great to see him out there. 'Sidds' has done the hard work and made it back. I think that's really exciting from a bowling point of view, that we're all a really close set of mates. To see your mates work it back and pull on the Baggy Green again and perform so well in the Test match, that's exciting for us," Starc noted.
The pacer, who picked up the most wickets in the just-concluded World Cup, also said that Australia have the required variety in their bowling unit to adapt to different climes.
"We've got a couple of a bit more aggressive guys, a couple of holders there that build pressure and take wickets that way and a couple of guys that are probably a hybrid of both. We're quite a well-rounded attack and then you throw in Nathan Lyon, who just knows how to get it done in all conditions. We're prepared for all conditions whether it be flat, green, seaming, swinging, slow, fast. Again, it's exciting to have everyone up and firing and plenty to choose from."