Returning quick Mitchell Starc dusted off the cobwebs in his cricket comeback on Friday as the Test spearhead picked up a wicket and, most importantly, bowled pain free.
Starc opened the bowling for the NSW Blues in the JLT One-Day Cup clash against the West End Redbacks at Hustville Oval, where the quick looked rusty in his first match since Australia's tournament-ending loss to England in the Champions Trophy in June.
The 27-year-old missed the Qantas Tour of Bangladesh nursing a foot injury but bowled without pain off the long run under overcast skies in Sydney's south.
While the rust was on show in his early overs, Starc warmed to somewhere near his best in the latter stages to finish with 1-55 from 10 overs.
"Felt OK," Starc told reporters after South Australia's innings concluded. "A few crappy overs in the first spell (0-25 from four overs) but finished off OK.
"It was a much better resumption to play than it was before the Champions Trophy.
"I had about three to four weeks to get going and obviously the foot wasn't right.
"I've had ample time to let it heal and progress through my rehab and get back to bowling.
"I got through 10 overs perfectly fine today and no pain."
Starting over the wicket to the Redbacks left-hand openers Jake Weatherald and Alex Carey, Starc's attempted trademark yorker missed the mark first ball, a full toss finding the inside edge to third man for a single.
Issues with his front foot on the fresh Hurstville Oval surface led to an order of sawdust, a ballooning bouncer over the batsman's head for a wide before a wayward head-high full toss zoomed to the boundary. The ensuing free hit was then launched over long-on for six.
Starc's search for any available swing led to repeated low full tosses as Carey and Weatherald marched toward a century opening stand.
He later returned to bowl the death overs after Weatherald and Alex Ross hammered 138 for the fourth wicket, with Ross plundering a Nathan Lyon over for a whopping 32 runs.
Starc found the edge of Weatherald after the opener had reached his century for his only wicket as his control and accuracy returned in his final four overs.
Australia coach and selector Darren Lehmann was on deck and said his premier fast bowler will be better for the run as he prepares for an all-out Magellan Ashes assault on England this summer.
"Good to see him back, he looks a little bit rusty," Lehmann told reporters on Friday.
"Obviously getting back into some cricket which is good. He looks fit and strong so that's the pleasing thing.
"It takes him a while to get back into the format so for him it'll be a couple of games before he starts to hit top gear but it's just good to see him playing cricket again."
Starc’s fitness is of the upmost importance to Australia after Victorian quick James Pattinson was ruled out of the Ashes this week, while seamer Jackson Bird will miss the remainder of the JLT Cup with a hamstring issue.
Fellow NSW bowler Josh Hazlewood continues his rehabilition and could yet feature in the latter stages of the JLT Cup before the three rounds of Sheffield Shield cricket before the opening Ashes Test.