It would seem that the tactic for the Australian cricket team is obvious.
Do not Mitchell Stark to bowl to Pakistan.
Starc seems to struggle with Pakistan. Most recently, he needed to bowl 36.2 overs in Pakistan’s first innings in the Dubai Test to take his first wicket.
It was the same side that tortured him to the tune of 25.1 in 2016 at MCG.
In the first Test at Dubai, he had Yasir Shah caught behind and if not that dismissal of Shah, it would have supplied the dubious mark of being just the second time in Starc’s Test career that he failed to take a wicket in an innings where he bowled at least 20 overs.
Needless to say, Pakistan has amassed a substantial lead.
Starc is coming back from a leg injury he suffered during the infamous tour of South Africa. Judging from the amount of bowling he did, it would seem certain that his arm is fine and his legs as well, given the amount of time he spent on the pitch.
It was actually an impressive display of stamina, although he did have to contend with muscle cramp on day one.
“There was a lot of pickle juice,” Starc said before play on Monday. “Travis Head looked after me. He had a couple of bottles in his pocket for me. It’s only come in in recent times I think but it’s supposed to help stop the cramps coming on.”
Starc said that the cramps affected his calves and groins and that the pickle juice remedy is normally a preventative, but his hope was that the briny fluid would shorten the time he had to deal with the discomfort.
Nathan Lyon also had a tough go during the first two days, bowling 52 overs, the highest number he has ever recorded for an innings.