Starc joins the elite with 200 Test wickets

Australia pace spearhead joins illustrious company after claiming a personal milestone for Australia on day one of Gabba Test

More than seven years after he claimed his first Test wicket at the Gabba, Mitchell Starc has become the 17th Australian to 200 Test wickets after striking after tea on day one of the series opener against Sri Lanka at the same venue.

Starc entered his 50th Test one shy of the milestone and, armed with the pink ball, took the wicket of Suranga Lakmal to join the exclusive club.

The 28-year-old's strike rate of 51.2 is the second-best of any Australian with 200 or more wickets, behind only his former teammate Mitchell Johnson (51.1).

His 200th wicket brings him level with legendary former firebrand Jeff Thomson, who played 51 Tests.

It was fitting that Sri Lanka was the opponent for Starc's milestone; the island nation are the side against which he has had the most frequent success, capturing a wicket every 33.6 deliveries, with the scalp of Lakmal his 35th in just his sixth Test.

"I think he's one of those bowlers the other team always has an eye out for, is always wary of because he just gets on a roll," pace partner Pat Cummins told during the Sydney Test.

"Bowling 150kph, a left-armer, if there's a little bit of sideways movement it's hard for anyone, let alone a new batsman coming in.

"It's great having him in the team, you always feel like you're going to get a wicket out of nothing."

Starc's first victim in Test cricket was former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, while he has enjoyed the most success against four batsmen, claiming the wickets of Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne, India's Murali Vijay, and England pair Alastair Cook and Jonny Bairstow on six occasions each.

Starc mixed his length up in the first session as the Gabba pitch baked under the hot Brisbane sun, and was unlucky not to have removed Lahiru Thirimanne in the opening hour of play, after the left-hander was given out lbw only for a review to save the Sri Lankan; ball-tracking technology projected the delivery to be missing leg stump.

Nonetheless, it was a promising sign for the Australians, after they failed to earn a single lbw decision in the four-Test series against India – a fact skipper Tim Paine addressed in the build-up to this first Test.

"Clearly we need to be hitting the stumps a little bit more than we were – there's no doubt about that and that's been spoken about – (but) we also felt we didn't use our bouncer as much as we would have liked in that series," Paine said on match eve.

"Sometimes when you're using your bouncer a couple of times an over, when you do pitch up it's a bit more effective.

"So there's two bits to that I suppose – the majority of the time we want to be hitting the top of the stumps a bit more, but there's also a way to set that up."

Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka

Australia: Tim Paine (c/wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha

Jan 24-28: First Test, Gabba (D/N)

Feb 1-5: Second Test, Canberra