10 Wickets For Mitchell Starc As Australia Take World's Ugliest Trophy
Mitchell Starc needed that. And Shane Warne might've just spat out his baked beans.
Australia has beaten Sri Lanka by 366 runs in the second Test at Manuka Oval in Canberra, and won the series 2-0, thereby securing one of the ugliest trophies in sport.
The trophy features likenesses of the hands of Aussie spinner Shane Warne and Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan -- the two most prolific wicket-takers in Test cricket history -- but does so in a way which is not aesthetically pleasing.
Surprisingly, this means that this Australian team -- which is very much a work-in-progress -- has won more Tests than it lost this summer, despite the 2-1 series loss to India.
It also means Mitchell Starc is back, thanks to five wickets in each innings of this match, which netted him match figures of 10/100 and the man-of-the-match award.
Not that Starc ever went anywhere. But in the minds of some, he was headed for the exit.
Shane Warne in particular -- yes, he of the trophy hand -- has been super vocal about the left arm paceman's (perceived) inadequacies this summer, as he has been for many years now.
In fact, this has been going on for years. In 2014, Warne said Starc's body language was "soft". Starc bounced back by being named player of the tournament at the 2015 ICC World Cup, which Australia won. But Warne has remained on the left-arm paceman's back ever since.
After today's effort, there are those dishing it back Warney's way.
"It hasn't all gone to plan for the group or personally," Starc said after the match.
"I came in this week to bowl as fast as I can and create chances that way. And it's paid off this week.
Many would argue that Starc is at his best when he bowls express pace. No one else in the game right now can bowl at 150 km/h consistently. If Starc can get his radar even half right when he bowls that fast, he's quite the weapon.
That said, debutant fast bowler Jhye Richardson has been super impressive this series and swings the ball, which should prove very handy in England. If Hazlewood, Cummings, Starc and Richardson are all fit for the first Ashes Test in August, the selectors will have quite the decision.
Meanwhile, Tim Paine ended the summer of Test cricket with some nice words.
"We started off this summer trying to win back your respect and make you proud of us," he said to the crowd
Judging by the Canberra crowd's applause, cricket fans are definitely heading in that general direction.