Mitchell Starc could be under pressure to hold his spot in Canberra.
Mitchell Starc could be under pressure to hold his spot in Canberra.

Starc has nowhere to go when his radar scrambles

In the end Australia did not need Will Pucovski … and that's why they could have played him.

Sound like twisted logic?

Perhaps, but no event at the Gabba over the past three days has changed the view that this Test, against a Sri Lankan team who crumbled like one of the cookies from Muttiah Muralitharan's family biscuit factory, would have been the perfect chance to blood a new young star.

But though Sri Lanka were modest, small fish have rarely tasted sweeter for Australia and here are 10 things we learnt from their impressive performance.

 

Will Pucovski congratulates Pat Cummins after his day three heroics at the Gabba.
Will Pucovski congratulates Pat Cummins after his day three heroics at the Gabba.

1. That the high-bouncing Gabba deck is still easily the best in the country and the most "Australia-friendly'' of all, with its bounce not only suiting the fast men and spinner Nathan Lyon but our batsmen as well.

 

2. That the exceptional Pat Cummins, on form this summer, is Australia's best fast bowler by a considerable margin and a wonderful role model for young cricketers.

 

3. That Australia's top three is still a murky work in progress. David Warner will partner Marcus Harris at the top of the order in the Ashes but Usman Khawaja's form remains a major worry.

 

4. That Mitchell Starc, whose Test place is under review, has lost his rhythm and mojo and the fact that he does not really have a stock ball doesn't help because there is no safe house to retreat to when his radar scrambles.

He might simply be pushing things too hard. Several Test bowlers in the commentary boxes noted he was putting so much effort into each ball he was falling away. That caused the seam to scramble and the ball to spray towards leg.

 

5. That day-night Test cricket has its own special charm as the game gets handed over to the fast bowlers who get extra swing and seam after dark. These qualities are accentuated at the Gabba.

 

6. That Australia's fast bowlers are still to crack the optimum line and lengths which is why, incredibly, they were still searching for their first lbw of the home Test summer late in the Sri Lankan first innings. One suggestion was they should practice without batsmen in the nets and just try and hit off-stump.

 

7. That Jhye Richardson is pacey, promising, composed and can swing the ball and that will get him to England.

 

8. That Marnus Labuschagne is also Ashes-bound, showing the sort of zest for the contest Australia has been looking for in its batsmen.

 

9. That Sri Lankan cricket is in a parlous state and this may be the weakest Test team they have sent to Australia in their seven visits to our shores.

 

10. That as strong as Australia's performance was there are still around seven spots up for grabs in Australia's 17-man Ashes party including reserve spinner, reserve keeper, two batsmen, two quicks and perhaps and all-rounder.

News Corp Australia


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