Adelaide - Mitchell Starc didn't like the
concept of playing with a pink ball under lights when the first-ever day-night
Test match was initially put on the schedule.
Now, as he readies to lead the Australian
attack against New Zealand in what is essentially a live trial for the concept,
Starc may have a more open mind.
Taking eight wickets (5-28 and 3-62) with
the pink ball for New South Wales in an interstate Sheffield Shield match
against South Australia last month prepared him well for the Test starting
Friday at the Adelaide Oval.
Starc has been Australia's form bowler
since the start of the year, helping his country capture a World Cup title -
capped with a win over co-host New Zealand in the final - and last week bowling
the fastest delivery ever recorded officially in a Test match at 160.4 kph.
He'll have more responsibility now as the
senior bowler after veteran pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson retired following
the drawn second Test in Perth.
"Obviously, losing someone of the
quality of Mitchell Johnson is always tough for a team, but I think Mitchell
Starc is going to step up and fill that role," Australia captain Steve
Smith said. "We saw last week the way he bowled was extremely impressive to
bowl 37 overs above 145 kph consistently, that's pretty impressive so hopefully
we can a lot more of that."
Starc took six wickets in Australia's 208-run
win over New Zealand in the series-opener at Brisbane, and four more in Perth.
With Johnson out, and with selectors
sending backup spinning option Steve O'Keefe home on the eve of the Test,
Australia's attack will most likely focus on the pacemen supporting Starc.
Josh Hazlewood has played in the first two
tests, with veteran Peter Siddle and James Pattinson vying for the other spots
in a combination that will have Nathan Lyon as the only spinner and Mitch Marsh
as the all-rounder. Shaun Marsh will replace injured batsman Usman Khawaja and
bat at No 5.
Smith said the pink ball had been refined
to the degree that it should satisfy critics concerned about its durability,
and the first day-night test match should generate some extra excitement - and
bigger crowds than the previous matches in the series. Organisers expect 40 000
spectators on Friday.
"It's a really exciting concept I
can't wait to get out and give it a crack," he said. "I think the
crowds have rolled in. Obviously, the first two Tests were a bit disappointing
in terms of crowds. There's some big numbers expected for at least the first
three days here. So I think it's really exciting for us moving forward."
With some concern over new-ball bowler
Trent Boult's back problem, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum hasn't settled
on a starting XI.
"Trent bowled yesterday in the nets
and I thought he bowled with good pace," McCullum said. "He sent a
couple of bouncers in there as well just like all the other bowlers did last
He said Boult would be given time to prove
his fitness, and the bowling combination was still undecided because of the
"We've got some considerations in
terms of the wicket and just some slightly different quirks and with the game
obviously being played a bit later, I wouldn't think we'd name an unchanged
11," he said. "It's just a matter of working out what the best
McCullum dismissed the notion that the pink
ball would give bowlers an advantage under the lights.
"There's a lot been made that it's
almost unplayable during those times, but it's just a little bit more
challenging during that stage," he said. "It doesn't mean you can't
get runs, or survive, and ensure you're there to bat the next day when
conditions will be easier. It is a quirk of this Test match."
New Zealand hasn't lost any of its last
seven series, and needs a win in Adelaide to extend the sequence.
Australia (from): David Warner, Joe Burns, Steve Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon.
New Zealand (from): Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (captain), B.J. Watling, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner.