Big Billy bursts onto the scene
Towering Queensland quick Billy Stanlake showed glimpses of his promise, touching 150kph and claiming three wickets for the Adelaide Strikers
Louis Cameron at the Adelaide Oval
1 January 2017, 11:02 AM AEST
It was only his 11th career appearance in domestic cricket but Billy Stanlake showed why he's been touted as one of the country's brightest pace prospects in the final game of 2016.
Stanlake sealed the match for the Adelaide Strikers in front of a 45,000-strong home crowd, taking the final two Sydney Sixers wickets off consecutive balls to kick off New Year's festivities early in their KFC Big Bash League clash.
But it was the dismissal of former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin that gave the sharpest glimpse into the kind of devastating fast bowler the towering Queenslander could become.
Officially listed at 204 cm, Stanlake uncoiled from his precise side-on wind-up and sent down a well-directed 144kph bouncer at Haddin, who was hurried into his hook shot despite being so deep in his crease that he trod on his stumps.
"I didn't realise (Haddin was out), I was looking at the ball," the 22-year-old, who finished with 3-17 from 3.2 overs, told bigbash.com.au of his prized scalp.
"I thought he might have whacked it for four. I didn't realise until he started walking off.
"A bit of a different wicket for me but I'll take it. I couldn't see it at all,"
"Bit of a lucky wicket I guess."
The wicket of Haddin came in the midst of a chaotic Sixers collapse that saw them lose 7-30 in a spell of just over eight overs.
And while Stanlake may have seen the vital breakthrough as a slice of good fortune, his hostility with the ball played a key part in helping the Strikers defend 152, a target he conceded was about "20 or 30 short" of a par score.
Having gone wicketless in his first match of BBL|06 and first senior domestic game in close to 12 months, Stanlake found good rhythm and troubled the Sixers batsmen with a short-pitched barrage.
Nudging the speed gun ever-closer to the magical 150kph mark, he conceded just two boundaries – both from miscued pull shots – as the men in magenta capitulated with the bat.
"It was a great win in the end," he said. "We were probably a few runs short but we spoke about being desperate in the field and having more energy (than in the Strikers' previous match, a 48-run loss to the Scorchers).
"I felt a bit better tonight than the other night. Kept things simple and did my job for the team.
"I don't really see the speedometer but I'm always trying to bowl quick.
"That's my role in the team so I'm always trying to bowl as fast as I can."
While he appears to have many of the attributes of an international-calibre speedster, injuries are a fact of life for a young, two-metre tall tearaway and Stanlake is accordingly being carefully monitored by Cricket Australia.
He missed the Strikers' tournament-opener against the Heat due to travel and workload issues, and both Strikers captain Brad Hodge and coach Jason Gillespie have conceded Stanlake won't be available for every match of the BBL.
But Hodge admitted he's tempted to push the boundaries to keep the speedster in the Strikers XI as they push for an elusive title.
"Fast bowlers (like him), they're good weapons to have," Hodge said at the WACA last week.
"He's under Cricket Australia workloads restriction (but) we might have to pick him.
"He's allowed to play five or six games in the competition, so we're just trying to work out which ones he's allowed to (play).
"We might have to look at that … He's a handful when he gets it right, 150(kph). I wouldn't like to face him."