Sri Lanka vs Australia 2016: Mitchell Starc gunning for Angleo Mathews' wicket during upcoming series
Starc expects a tough fight from Sri Lanka playing in their home conditions but backed the Australian bowling line-up to come out on top.
Keeping up with the Australian cricket team’s long-standing tradition of the team’s premier fast bowler targeting the best batsman from the opposition, Mitchell Starc, who will be making his long-awaited return to Test cricket with the opening Test at Kandy which begins from July 26, said that he will be keeping a special eye on Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews.
Though Mathews and Sri Lanka had a forgettable tour of England recently with the allrounder only managing to score 125 runs in five innings as the visitors lost the three-Test series 2-0, Starc is wary of the threat posed by Mathews who boasts an average of 55.58 in 33 Tests at home.
With only a couple of days left for the opening Test match, Starc didn’t shy away from a few mind games of his own claiming that Mathews will be under a lot of pressure to perform in comparison with Australian skipper Steven Smith due to Sri Lanka’s rapid decline in form over the past year or so.
“It would be (a big wicket) and look, he’s under pressure. He’d be under pressure after the English tour and as a captain, he’ll have to go through that pressure and perform as well,” Starc said. “And that’s something that Steve Smith, for us, does really well. He’s been fantastic as a captain and performed from the front as well. So no doubt we’ll put a lot of pressure on Angelo to firstly perform and for him, he’s got to lead as captain so he’ll be a big wicket for us along with (Dinesh) Chandimal.”
The island nation has been struggling to cope up with the retirement of their batting stalwarts over the past couple of decades – Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara – and have been dealt further blows with an alarming number of injuries to their fast bowlers. Also missing out will be opener Tillakaratne Dilshan and Starc sounded relieved that he would not be bowling to the three Sri Lankan legends in what will be his first Test match in the island nation.
“It’s fantastic not to see the three big names line up against us,” Starc said. “There was a few tough moments with those experienced batsmen in the line-up. They’re obviously a bit light on in the Sri Lankan team and coming off a series defeat in England.”
Despite their recent setbacks, Starc admits that Sri Lanka will be tough proposition back in their home conditions and is not taking the opposition lightly. However, he still expects the Australian bowling line-up to come out on top during the three-match series.
“But back in their home conditions, they know it best and they’ll be up for a fight,” he said. “If we can make some early inroads and expose that inexperienced line-up we’ve definitely got a fantastic bowling line-up to go through them.”