Mitchell Starc must be making the selectors proud of their picks, as he drew early blood against England in day two of the day – night Ashes Test in Adelaide.
He trapped Mark Stone in front for 18 and halted England at 1 – 29 before the Poms were rescued by rain that halted play at the Adelaide Oval.
Shaun Marsh had staked his mates with an unbeaten 126, where he make the Brits deliver 213 balls to him following early dismissals to Peter Handscomb and Tim Paine. Starc himself did not fare well with the bat, for that matter, scoring just six runs.
He recovered to supply 99 in a partnership with Pat Cummins.
England now faces an uphill battle to get back into the game. The skies seem to be clearing, so England cannot count on the weather saving them again. Australia could well go into Perth with a two Tests to none advantage, so even if Ben Stokes can walk on water, he may be needed to work some loaves and fishes magic as well and two miracles may be beyond even him.
At this point, they are in decent position, having reached stumps just one wicket down, and so calling them out might be premature.
Marsh’s return was nothing if not emotional and he seized the moment with his match-altering ton.
Despite the disparity in the scores, England has actually acquitted themselves nicely, despite their decision to rely on four specialist seamers to handle the first two Tests.
Chris Woakes, Craig Everton and Jake Ball’s traditional right-arm over the wicket bowlers have struggled to penetrate the Aussie batting order and Mason Crane and Tom Curran have had little impact other than to keep their teammates hydrated.
Mitchell Starc has been shooting bullets at the Poms. His first bowl was over 145 kph and later threw one past the 150 kph mark.
England, on the other hand, does not have the pace attack to hang with the hosts, and has hung in through a combination of impressive fielding, a little bit of luck, and a little bit of guile.