We are only go­ing to im­prove – Starc

Western Mail - - SPORT -

MITCHELL Starc has warned Eng­land to ex­pect an even tougher time against Aus­tralia’s bowlers in the re­main­der of this win­ter’s Ashes.

Starc has taken 14 wick­ets in Aus­tralia’s back-to-back vic­to­ries in the first two Tests, and be­lieves he and his col­leagues are ready to step up an­other gear as the se­ries moves on to Perth.

An­other win, at a venue where Aus­tralia have lost just once to Eng­land and not since 1978, will be enough for the hosts to re­gain the Ashes with an unas­sail­able 3-0 lead.

Starc is lick­ing his lips al­ready at the prospect of putting the tourists un­der max­i­mum pres­sure on a pitch long renowned as one of the world’s quick­est - with an at­tack he in­sists has huge scope to make life even more awk­ward for Eng­land.

“The ex­cit­ing thing is our bowl­ing group can still get bet­ter,” said the 27-year-old left-armer.

“We’ve ob­vi­ously man­aged to take 40 wick­ets in the last cou­ple of weeks and do some re­ally good things, but I think there’s still a lot of room for im­prove­ment.”

Starc and Pat Cum­mins sup­ply the out-and-out pace, while Josh Ha­zle­wood is a metro­nomic seamer and off-spin­ner Nathan Lyon is at the top of his game as well.

It was all too much for Eng­land as they suc­cumbed to a 120-run de­feat in Ade­laide on Wed­nes­day.

Starc added: “’Gazza’ (Lyon) is bowl­ing out­stand­ingly at the moment.

“That al­lows the other three of us to do what we need to do from one end if need be.

“Then Josh does what he does and al­lows Pat and me to bowl as fast as we want.

“I hope we see a nice, fast, bouncy wicket – a WACA of old – and we can get stuck into their bat­ters again.”

Starc says Aus­tralia are a tight-knit team on and off the pitch.

“We’re re­ally close mates, and I think that shows in the way we play our cricket.

“We’re gelling re­ally nicely and we com­ple­ment each other re­ally well.

“The same can be said of our bat­ters, so it’s a re­ally ex­cit­ing spot to be in.”

Eng­land coach Trevor Bayliss and cap­tain Joe Root sense they are on the verge of a break­through win, if only they can sus­tain their best cricket over five days.

Starc does not ap­pear to give that sug­ges­tion much cre­dence, though.

“They had to give it their all dur­ing the week to get them­selves into a po­si­tion to have a chase in the fourth in­nings – and to come up short,” he added.

Mean­while, Ben Stokes has been named in Eng­land’s one-day squad de­spite still wait­ing to hear if he will be charged over an in­ci­dent in Bris­tol on Septem­ber 25. Eng­land ODI squad: Eoin Morgan, cap­tain (Mid­dle­sex), Moeen Ali (Worces­ter­shire), Jonny Bairstow (York­shire), Jake Ball (Not­ting­hamshire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jos But­tler (Lan­cashire), Tom Cur­ran (Sur­rey), Alex Hales (Not­ting­hamshire), Liam Plun­kett (York­shire), Adil Rashid (York­shire), Joe Root (York­shire), Ja­son Roy (Sur­rey), Ben Stokes (Durham), David Wil­ley (York­shire), Chris Woakes (War­wick­shire), Mark Wood (Durham).

> Mitchell Starc pol­ished off the Eng­land bat­ting in their sec­ond in­nings at Ade­laide

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