Australia spearhead Mitchell Starc gave uncapped Proteas squad member Wiaan Mulder a frightening preview of what to expect should he make his debut in the four-match Qantas Tour of South Africa.
Mulder was picked in South Africa’s 15-man squad for the first two Tests against Australia on the morning of day three of the lone tour match in Benoni, and having caught wind of the allrounder’s selection, Starc fired down bouncer after bouncer at the youngster, with each short ball followed by a nasty glare, a few choice words, or in most cases, both.
“We thought we’d give him a little bit of a taste of what he might have to face if he gets a game through the series,” Starc told reporters after play at Willowmoore Park.
“I think a few of us said they might have announced their squad a day too early.
“It was nice to take the handbrake off for a few overs and show him what he might be facing if he gets a crack through the series.”
Mulder copped 10 consecutive balls from Starc to start his innings, a baptism of fire on a spicy pitch that offered inconsistent bounce during the match.
It was reminiscent of what England’s tail suffered throughout the Magellan Ashes; a relentless barrage of bouncers with men catching at bat-pad, leg gully and wide fine leg.
After Mulder finally managed to get a single off Starc to earn a reprieve at the non-striker’s end, he was out the first ball of the following over to Mitchell Marsh, trapped lbw to a ball that may have been missing leg stump.
Starc was pick of the bowlers on day three, claiming 4-46 and bowling with greater control and pace than his first innings display of 1-37 in what was his first red-ball match in South Africa.
The 28-year-old was rested after Australia went down 4-1 in the Gillette ODI Series that followed the Ashes to allow the bruised heel that kept him out of the Boxing Day Test time to recover ahead of the South Africa Test series.
He’s spent the last week bowling in Johannesburg, both at The Wanderers nets and in the tour match, and so far it’s so good for the exciting quick.
“I’ve had five days out of the six bowling, so it’s been good for the body, good to get a couple of wickets and I’m one of the ones who hasn’t played any red ball cricket here,” he said.
“So, it was nice to have a good three days hit out.
“Now we’re travel to Durban and get stuck in to the prep for the Test.”
Qantas Tour of South Africa
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
Warm-up match v South Africa A | Australia won by five wickets
First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5
Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3