After recovering from a severe ankle injury that kept him out from the game for six months, Australian pacer Mitchell Starc is raring to make a comeback to the longest format of the game. He has already made his comeback to the One-day International during the tri-series in the Caribbeans and is now expected to play in the first Test against Sri Lanka which begins on July 26.
Talking to the media, the pacer said that the Australian team would look to pile more pressure on Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, who is under immense pressure after a winless tour of England.
“He’s been fantastic as a captain and led from the front as well, so no doubt we’ll put a lot of pressure on Angelo to perform. He’s got to lead as captain, so he’ll be a big wicket for us along with [Dinesh] Chandimal. For their bowlers [Rangana] Herath is the most experienced one and one that we’ll try and counter.”
He also expressed his relief over the fact that the Sri Lankan side will be without Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
“It’s fantastic to not see the three big names line up against us,” Starc said. “There were a few tough moments with those experienced batsmen in the line-up. They’re obviously a bit light on [experience] in the Sri Lankan team. They are coming off a series defeat in England, but back in their home conditions, they know it best and they’ll be up for a fight.
“We’ll have to be at our best, but at the same time if we can make some early inroads and expose that inexperience, we’ve definitely got a fantastic bowling line-up to go through them.”
On his experience of working with South African legend Allan Donald, who is Australia’s interim bowling coach for the Sri Lankan tour, Starc said:”I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Allan Donald through the IPL with (Royal Challengers) Bangalore for a couple of years. So I know AD maybe a bit better than some of the other bowlers but he’s been great.
“Speaking to him as a group when we first got to Sri Lanka he’s toured here maybe five or six times, more than any of the other bowlers,” he added. “So it’s great to get his thoughts on reverse swing, swinging the new ball, maybe some of the ways the Sri Lankan players have played in the past.”