Starc pushes past pain barrier for Australia
Left-arm quick shrugs off effects of ankle injury to keep Cardiff hopes alive for Ashes tourists
Sam Ferris Cardiff
10 July 2015, 09:57 PM AEST
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc has braved an ankle injury to take two key wickets on day as the first Ashes Test motors ahead in Cardiff.
Starc was reported to have ankle soreness after leaving the field late on day one and was in visible discomfort throughout his short time at the crease on day three.
Video: Starc battles through the pain barrier (Australia only)
The left-armer missed the first over of England's second innings, but after testing his injured right ankle in the field he was thrown the ball by captain Michael Clarke for the seventh over of the innings.
Visibly under duress, Starc collected the prize wicket of England captain Alastair Cook at backward point with a full, outswinging delivery with his sixth ball to help ease the pain.
Starc is pumped up after removing Cook // Getty Images
"Mitchell Starc's defied the pain and picked up Cook," Wide World of Sports commentator Ian Healy said when England's first wicket fell in a thrilling opening session on day three.
"It was a nicer end to the over for Mitchell Starc than the start.
"He was limping, he was feeling the pain but nothing like a wicket to get the mind focused on the job at hand."
Starc later returned to the attack to bowl Ben Stokes with a fizzing yorker that found the inside edge of the allrounder's flashing blade.
"Extremely impressed," Healy said on Starc's day two three performance.
"I’ve been impressed with the bowlers in the second innings – their effort was outstanding.
"Even though they couldn’t keep the run rate down they kept taking wickets.
"Let’s go back to Mitchell Starc.
"We hear injections in the ankle and real trouble with that ankle but he bore it and he got some success.
"Seven wickets in a Test, first time he’s done that, so that was a great effort."
Starc came off on the first afternoon with an ankle complaint // Getty Images
Former Australia captain and Sky Sports pundit Ricky Ponting was concerned with Starc's absence from the start of England's innings after being last man out to see the tourists' dismissed for 308 and 122 runs behind.
"There's obviously something going on with that ankle," Ponting said.
"It's unusual for him not to be out there so there's some sort of medical situation going on."
All eyes were on Starc ahead of day two // cricket.com.au
While Starc bounced back to capture Cook's wicket and baffle England first-drop Gary Ballance, champion Australia paceman Glenn McGrath says playing with pain is to be expected.
"That's part of being a fast bowler," McGrath told cricket.com.au.
"It's tough on the body, you've got be hard, tough.
"Batsmen don't really understand.
"They're a little bit soft. They get a little tap on the finger and they're off.
"To be a fast bowler you've got to be tough, you've got to push through that pain barrier on a regular basis so hopefully Mitchell Starc can do that today."
Click above to learn more about how to stream the Ashes and more cricket