Sydney Test: Paine defends Starc after poor day with ball on Day 2

Melbourne: Australian captain Tim Paine on Friday came in defence of fast bowler Mitchell Starc as the latter was criticised for not being able to scalp any Indian wicket on the second day of the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The spearhead was criticised by Shane Warne, the former Australian cricketer. However, Starc got the support of former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and current captain Paine.

“I don’t know what people expect from him (Starc). That is what I don’t get with the criticism he is getting; Mitchell Starc is trying his absolute best to do the same thing he did a year ago when he was swinging the ball around corners,” Cricket Australia quoted Paine, as saying.

Starc ended the day with the figures of 1-123. He also failed to bowl a maiden over in his 26 overs spell.

“He is down on confidence a little bit and I sometimes think people forget that he is just a bloke who is trying his best. I know he is playing at the highest level and they expect a lot from him but it doesn’t always work; it is Test cricket, he is coming up against some very, very good batters and he is not quite at his best’. Starc knows that he is working on it, he is being really honest about it and he is trying to figure out exactly what it is that is missing at the moment,” he added.

The spearhead had also remained unsuccessful against Pakistan last year as he took four wickets after bowling 61 overs in the series in UAE.

Starc made his Test Debut in 2011 against New Zealand and from 2014 he has been a regular member of the Test squad. He has taken 199 wickets in 49 Test matches with an average of 20.98 so far.

Indian batting unit comprising of Mayank Agarwal (77), Cheteshwar Pujara (193), Rishabh Pant (159) and Ravindra Jadeja (81) displayed their heroic knocks before the visitors declared their first innings on 622 runs for the loss of seven wickets. In reply, the hosts Australia made 24 runs for no loss at stumps. Openers Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja are holding the crease for Australia on respective scores of 19 and 5.

India are leading the four-Test series 2-1 and are eying to clinch the final Test to register a historic win on Australian soil.