There was very little for Australia to boast about in Perth as they fell to a humiliating 309-run defeat in the third Test to South Africa. Having drawn the previous two Tests, many fans in the world of cricket bets were hoping for an upset as they chased a low 225 first-innings tally from the Proteas.
Yet after their 163 collapse and disastrous 569 concession in the second innings, broadcast live for those who watch cricket online, the Test was dead and buried before Australia came out to bat again. Any hope of reconciliation from a tough three-match series evaporated in the heat of the Perth sun.
Indeed, Australia’s all-round performance against South Africa did not bode well for the 2013 Ashes, which begins on English soil in July next year. Yet captain Michael Clarke received one glimmer of hope from this meek series, and that is the consistent performance of young bowler Mitchell Starc.
Starc, at 22, has made just five Test appearances for Australia yet already boasts promising figures. In two innings in Perth the seamer took eight wickets, adding to his four against India on the same ground in January and six more from three other Tests. The right-hander also did well at the crease, knocking 68 from 43 balls at 10th man as Australia chased an insurmountable target.
Starc’s performance proved there is life in Australia’s bowling attack that will tour England next summer; and he may be invaluable to Clarke’s plans during the back-to-back series over 2013/14. For Starc has experience bowling on English soil after a stint with Yorkshire this summer, aiding the Headingley club to the final of the 2012 Twenty20 tournament.
He can swing the ball just enough to cause Test batsmen trouble and is as accurate as anyone Clarke has in his arsenal. So while Green Caps fans may be worried they are understrength going into the 2013 Ashes, at least Starc will offer some resistance to England’s dominant top order.