Mitchell Starc Caught Off Guard by Pakistan’s Slower Bowling at Boxing Day MCG Test

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Pakistan’s bowlers surprised everyone, including Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc, with their lack of express pace in the first Test. Starc noted that the slower pace of the Pakistan bowlers was unexpected, given their reputation for higher speeds. The absence of Naseem Shah due to injury and Haris Rauf opting out of the series limited Pakistan’s options for high-pace bowlers, putting a burden on Shaheen Shah Afridi, whose pace has been down since recovering from a knee injury.

During the first Test, Shaheen Shah Afridi’s average pace was in the low 130 kph, dropping to the high 120s in the second innings. The other three seam options Pakistan went with are not express either. The difference in pace was noticeable compared to Australia’s pace bowlers, who routinely hit the mid-140s.

Starc conceded that extra pace wouldn’t be crucial at the MCG, providing Scotty Boland as an example of someone who can generate movement without being a top-end pace bowler. However, Pakistan’s lack of pace options has concerned former captain Waqar Younis, who noted the absence of the exciting pace bowlers Pakistan was known for in the past.

Pakistan’s bowling attack was further hampered by Khurram Shahzad being ruled out of the series with a stress fracture. Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, and Mohammad Wasim Jnr are in reserve, but none of them can truly be classified as express pacers.

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