Cricket - Starc
Mitchell Starc celebrates after taking the wicket of Pakistan's Fawad Alam during third day of the second Test in Karachi on Monday. Image Credit: AP

Australia’s Mitchell Starc brought life to a dead pitch at the National Stadium with some high class reverse swing bowling which had pace of 150 kmph - and the angle - to dismiss Pakistan for just 148 in the first innings getting a sizeable lead of 408.

When Cummins decided to bat on the third day inspite of having a score of 500-plus, it looked very ominous that the Australian captain wanted to put Pakistan under the big first innings scoreboard pressure as they made the the home bowlers toil in the Karachi heat. And when Pakistan came on the bat, they looked untroubled and played out the first 19 overs before lunch for the loss of just one wicket - that too of a runout.

Mayhem struck in the name of Mitchell Starc, who was bowling thunderbolts at 150kmph to rip out first Azhar Ali, who had score 190 in the first Test at Rawalpindi and then Fawad Alam with a terrific display of swing bowling - which tailed in to the left hander who was playing his first ball of the series and was found right in front.

Starc was on hattrick and almost had Mohammed Rizwan when he squared him up but the latter did not nick it. Cummins realised that there was a lot his pace bowlers could get from the lifeless pitch and instead of continuing with spinners, he seized the moment and continued with his pacers in Green and himself for the next 15 overs. Till tea, Pakistan had collapsed to seven down with just 100 on the board due to some high class reverse swing.

Cummins had said before the tour to Pakistan: “A lot of time the ball reverse swings and it could be a good weapon for his pace bowlers to use that weapon.’’ Starc, who was picked ahead of Josh Hazlewood, led from the front and showed it to his fellow bowlers how to maximize it and Pakistan batsman had no clue and succumbed to it.

In the first Test, Australian bowlers had toiled restlessly at Rawalpindi, but they used that experience and showed how dangerous they can be when the ball reverse swings and bring life in to a dead pitch.

- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group