NSW spinner Nathan Lyon got one WA wicket in Sydney on Monday, but it was the Blues pace trio of Starc (4-56),Josh Hazlewood (3-24) and Pat Cummins (2-31) who set up the home team’s 94-run first innings lead.
With the first Test less than three weeks away, NSW and national captain Steve Smith would have been happy with the impressive effort from a Blues bowling ensemble widely tipped to form the Australian attack.
Starc and Cummins were dishing out plenty of chin music at Hurstville Oval with some brutish short balls.
But it was Starc’s venomous full-length deliveries that reaped the greatest rewards and struck the most discordant notes for the visiting batsmen.
Three successive yorkers blasted through the Warriors tail to give Starc his first hat-trick – not bad for a bloke who recalled starting his cricketing journey as a wicketkeeper.
In the more than six years since Cummins, the youngest of the three Blues quicks, made his Shield debut, the trio had never played a first-class game together until this week.
“We’ve played plenty of white ball stuff together but it was our first with the red ball and it was good fun to get out there as a group,” Starc said.
“We spend a lot of time off the field together, so it was nice to get a few overs under the belt together, take a few wickets and have a bit of fun at the end (with my hat-trick) as well.
“Josh and I have played about 10 years of cricket together, so we’ve played a lot of cricket together.
“Patty has played some white ball cricket with us but he’s had his issues with his back as well, so it’s nice to see him back in full flight for the last few months.
“I’m sure he’s really looking forward to a summer at home as well, as are the other two of us, to join forces along with Gazza (Lyon).
“The four Blue boys hopefully can go through the summer together.”
This week’s game is, however, likely to be their last together for NSW for some time.
While Hazelwood is scheduled to have another run in next week’s Shield game against Queensland in Brisbane, Starc and Cummins are supposed to be rested from that match.
“That’s been the plan for a long time now and the plan hasn’t changed for the last few weeks and I don’t think it will change next week,” Starc said.
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