• Paine questions criticism of Starc

    Captain Tim Paine has defended fast bowler Mitchell Starc, after Australia fell to a 31-run defeat at the hands of India on day five of the first Test in Adelaide.

    Starc took five wickets in the series opener, but nevertheless copped criticism from former Test seamers Mitchell Johnson, Damien Fleming and Glenn McGrath.

    ‘I think for the majority of the Test, Starc actually bowled really well. I saw a bit of stuff that people were pretty critical of him. But I think his economy rate for a lot of the Test was really good,’ said Paine.

    ‘He took some wickets. He didn’t set the world on fire, but I think for a long time there’s been a really big gap between Starc’s best and his worst, and from what I’m seeing that is getting closer and closer every day.

    ‘So yeah was he at his best? Probably not, but I still thought he played his role really well and opened up the game for us, to be honest, at times.

    ‘When Starc’s on song there is no better bowler in the world. Particularly with the new ball and if he can get it to swing. I think in Perth the conditions will suit him down to the ground. I think it will be swing and from what I’m hearing the wicket is going to be really fast. So he’ll be a handful.’

    The second Test will start in Perth on Friday.

    Photo: Getty

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