Australia captain Pat Cummins lavished praise on Mitchell Starc as the rangy left-arm paceman joined the 300 wickets club in style on Sunday during the first Test win over South Africa.
Starc brought up the milestone by bowling Rassie van der Dussen for a duck with a trademark in-swinging yorker that sliced through the number three’s bat and pad and sent the Gabba crowd into a frenzy before lunch on Day 2.
The 32-year-old pointed to the crowd as he jogged down the pitch to be mobbed by his team mates.
Eleven years after his debut against New Zealand in Brisbane, Starc became the seventh Australian to take 300 scalps in Tests, joining Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, team mate Nathan Lyon, Dennis Lillee and Mitchell Johnson.
“He just keeps impressing,” said Cummins after Australia completed a six-wicket win over the Proteas in two days.
“The longevity to take 300 wickets in over 10 years — I think he just keeps going to a different level.
“You saw him (bowling) around the wicket, nipping the ball away. That’s a new skill for him.
“Absolute huge member of our team and he continues to get better and better.”
Starc finished with five wickets for the match, including the dismissal of Temba Bavuma for 38 in the first innnings which broke a 98-run partnership with Kyle Verreynne and triggered the Proteas’ collapse to be all out for 152.
Starc could have had his 300th wicket on Day 2 when he had Kagiso Rabada hit straight to Travis Head but the Australia number five juggled then spilled the catch, drawing a groan from the crowd.
Starc said Head was the first to congratulate him on Sunday after bowling Van der Dussen.
“Very cool, very privileged. I’ll reflect on it later but just nice to get a test wicket,” added the bowler.
“Obviously the last 18 months to two years have been probably some of the best test cricket I’ve played. So hopefully that can continue.”
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