Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Starc continues bowling blitz as NSW close in
NSW paceman on target with top-order wickets and searing yorkers to have Blues in the box seat and a Test berth within grasp
20 October 2019, 06:26 PM AEST
Mitchell Starc has sent a resounding message to Australian selectors with another four wickets to put NSW on the verge of a Sheffield Shield victory over Tasmania.
Fresh from a five-wicket haul in the first innings, Starc has figures of 4-20 in the second at stumps on day three with Tasmania 9-132 and leading by just 36 runs.
Dropped for all but one of the five Ashes Test in England, Starc is favoured to reclaim his spot from Peter Siddle for next month's first Test against Pakistan.
"I'm not a selector but I see no reason why he's not there in the first Test match," star teammate Steve Smith said.
"I think he knows the reasons why he didn't play in England conditions wise.
"But I think when you're looking at Australia with the wickets here air speed is a big one and he's got a terrific record in Australia."
And he has done his chances no harm at Sydney's Drummoyne Oval, bowling fast and with great control in his 19 overs on Sunday.
In a miserly 19 overs on a slow wicket, Starc first had Alex Doolan caught at point for seven in his third over, before trapping Jordan Silk lbw on the back foot for 28.
His spell late in the day was peak Starc. He knocked over Alex Pyecroft with a yorker and then had the ball reversing to remove Sam Rainbird.
It comes after he battled for rhythm in his Shield return against Queensland last week.
But Smith said he'd seen a switch flick in the 29-year-old in training since.
"I think he struggled a little bit last week getting some rhythm, just coming back after a bowling with a Dukes ball, bowling with a Kookaburra for the first time," Smith said.
"He said that to me and I could see the net we had two days before the game, I was facing him in the nets and things didn't feel quite right.
"When I left I could just see a difference, I could see it in his run up and it clicked."
The match figures marked his best bowling in a match since the Canberra Test against Sri Lanka in February, and come at a crucial time with Australia's fast-bowling stocks booming.
Sean Abbott also picked up two wickets for the Blues, including the scalp of Test captain Tim Paine to a smart catch to Moises Henriques at square leg.
Matt Wade offered the only real resistance for Tasmania, with his 40 coming from 113 balls before Abbott had him edging one outside off stump.
It comes after Henriques and Steve Smith gave NSW the advantage on day two, both scoring hundreds in their total of 364.
Young Tasmanian quick Riley Meredith dismissed them both on Sunday morning as part of his first five-wicket haul. finishing with figures of 5-98.
Meredith, who was backed by Shane Warne for a World Cup spot last summer, at one stage took three wickets in four balls including a yorker to bowl Smith off his boots.
Meanwhile Test aspirant Kurtis Patterson continues to battle a quad injury that is affecting his hopes of a recall.
The left-hander batted at No.11 with a runner for NSW, but still looked uncomfortable with the injury as he scored an unbeaten 16.
NSW XI: Daniel Hughes, David Warner, Steven Smith, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill (c/wk), Sean Abbott, Mitchell Starc, Steve O’Keefe, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon
Tasmania XI: Jordan Silk, Alex Doolan, Beau Webster, Matthew Wade (c), Ben McDermott, Caleb Jewell, Tim Paine (wk), Sam Rainbird, Alex Pyecroft, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Riley Meredith