Ali, Finn ruled out of Ashes tour
Australia’s Strike bowler Mitchell Starc became the first man to take two hat-tricks in the same first-class game in Australia on Tuesday as he hit ominous form ahead of the Ashes Test series against England.
The left-arm pacer became only the eighth player in first-class cricket history — and the first in 39 years — to achieve the feat as he spearheaded New South Wales (NSW) to victory over Western Australia (WA) in the Sheffield Shield.
Having removed Jason Behrendorff, David Moody and Simon Mackin in WA’s first innings to complete his first career hat-trick, Starc then got both Behrendorff and Moody again off the final two deliveries of his 15th over.
Jono Wells then edged Starc on the first ball of his next over to Australia and NSW captain Steve Smith at first slip to end the match.
Starc finished with the match figures of seven for 97 in NSW’s 171-run victory. He also took a career-best 8-73 for NSW against South Australia under lights at Adelaide Oval and looks in ominous touch ahead of the Test series.
Australia take on England in the first of five Ashes Test matches in Brisbane, starting on November 23.
Australian leg-spinner Jimmy Matthews remains the only player to take two hat-tricks in a Test match after he did it against South Africa in Manchester in 1912.
Meanwhile, Injured Moeen Ali and Steven Finn remain unavailable for England’s second tour game in Adelaide, coach Trevor Bayliss said on Tuesday, missing the chance to prepare for the day-night Ashes Test in the city.
Bayliss said all-rounder Ali (side strain) and fast-bowler Finn (knee), who also missed England’s drawn opening tour game in Perth, will sit out the four-dayer under lights against a Cricket Australia XI, starting on Wednesday.
“Finn is still not right, we won’t know about him for another couple of days yet,” Bayliss told reporters in Adelaide on Tuesday. “Mo Ali is more precautionary now; we will just leave him out of this one and make sure he’s right.”
Bayliss also said he was uncertain over one batting spot and another fast-bowling option for the first Test starting in Brisbane on November 23.
“We have probably got a batting spot to finalise and probably a fourth pace position so there’s a little bit of competition from within which is good,” said Bayliss.
England have one further four-day warm-up game in Townsville from November 15 before the first Test.
Bayliss said the team was focused on becoming familiar with the day-night conditions and playing with a pink ball ahead of the second Test at Adelaide Oval.
England have only played one day-night Test, which they lost to the West Indies last August.
“We have got this [Adelaide] game to see what happens with the pink ball and for our guys to experience it with a view obviously to that [day-night] second Test,” said Bayliss. “If the ball moves around a little bit more, that is what we like to see more of. Our batters are more used to playing on wickets that do a bit more sideways and obviously the bowlers bowling on it as well, moreso than the Australian guys.”
Former Test fast-bowler Ryan Harris, coach of the CA XI team, said he wants to send the tourists to Brisbane low on confidence and with as little insight as possible into batting against the pink ball.—Agencies