Mitchell Starc has warned England to expect an even tougher time against Australia’s bowlers in the remainder of this winter’s Ashes.
Starc has taken 14 wickets in Australia’s back-to-back victories in the first two Tests, and believes he and his colleagues are ready to step up another gear as the series moves on to Perth.
Another win, at a venue where Australia have lost just once to England and not since 1978, will be enough for the hosts to regain the Ashes with an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Starc is licking his lips already at the prospect of putting the tourists under maximum pressure on a pitch long renowned as one of the world’s quickest – with an attack he insists has huge scope to make life even more awkward for England.
“The exciting thing is our bowling group can still get better,” said the 27-year-old left-armer. “We’ve obviously managed to take 40 wickets in the last couple of weeks and do some really good things, but I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”
Starc and Pat Cummins supply the out-and-out pace, while Josh Hazlewood is a metronomic seamer and off-spinner Nathan Lyon is at the top of his game as well.
It was all too much for England as they succumbed to a 120-run defeat in Adelaide on Wednesday.
Starc added: “‘Gazza’ (Lyon) is bowling outstandingly at the moment. That allows the other three of us to do what we need to do from one end if need be.
“Then Josh does what he does and allows Pat and me to bowl as fast as we want. I hope we see a nice, fast, bouncy wicket – a WACA of old – and we can get stuck into their batters again.”
Starc says Australia are a tight-knit team on and off the pitch.
“We’re really close mates, and I think that shows in the way we play our cricket. We’re gelling really nicely and we complement each other really well. The same can be said of our batters, so it’s a really exciting spot to be in.”
England coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root sense they are on the verge of a breakthrough win, if only they can sustain their best cricket over five days. Starc does not appear to give that suggestion much credence, though.
“They had to give it their all during the week to get themselves into a position to have a chase in the fourth innings – and to come up short,” he added.