Starc creating an Ashes selection headache
The groundswell for Australian selectors to give Mitch Starc an Ashes start in Manchester is sure to grow after his seven wicket haul against Derbyshire.
But selection chairman Trevor Hohns left the county ground at lunchtime on Saturday conceding only that the left-arm quick's performance had given him "options" for Wednesday's fourth Test.
Starc has spent the first three Tests on the sidelines, practising the control he needed to get on top of as Australia opted for a well-considered Ashes plan to dry up England's attacking batsmen.
He showed in the first innings at Derbyshire he had improved, opening with three straight maidens before cleaning up the tail with a triple-wicket maiden, which included shattering the stumps of two-lower order batsmen.
Starc, who has 212 Test wickets, then did the same on Saturday, with consecutive yorkers to close out a big win for Australia, which included both Test batsmen Marcus Harris (62) and Usman Khawaja (72) getting much needed half-centuries.
Hohns said he was happy with the bowling group from Headingley, which rolled England for 67 in the first innings before the last day disaster.
But he said the Old Trafford pitch, said to be the fastest in England could have a big say in selections, as could the back-to-back final two Tests.
"The bowling group have performed very, very well, and we are very comfortable with that. Plus we are very comfortable with the options we have on the sideline," Hohns said.
"The (last two Tests) are close together and with our bowling unit in particular, that's what we have done so far, we have tried to manage our bowlers, so we will certainly be taking that in to account."
Hohns praised Starc for showing both his control, and his wicket-taking ability after he finished with 7-85 across the two innings.
The selection boss conceded it created a "good headache" for selectors.
"We all know he is an aggressor, so we can't expect him to change the way he bowls too much," Hohns said.
"But he is doing everything he possibly can to bowl in the right areas and the right channels.
"He's certainly given us a good option there."