Australian Test hopeful Mitchell Starc has jumped to the defence of besieged quick Ben Hilfenhaus, saying criticism of his performance in the first Test against South Africa is unwarranted.
Starc, who was named 12th man for the series opener, pressed his claims for a starting spot in next week's second Test in Adelaide with a four-wicket haul in the Bupa Sheffield Shield clash against Victoria.
But the 22-year-old believes calls for Hilfenhaus to be left out of the Test XI are unfair.
"I think Benny's probably been harshly done by in the media," Starc said on Friday.
"He was fantastic for Australia last season against India and all of a sudden he's has one game where he hasn't taken five-for and everyone's over him.
"Benny's a class player and a class bowler and if he's picked for the Adelaide Test I'm sure he's going to come out hard and probably take some wickets again."
Starc, who is expected to be named in Australia's squad on Friday afternoon for the second Test in Adelaide, boosted his selection prospects with an impressive performance against the Bushrangers on Thursday.
He took 4-72 off 22 overs, claiming the scalps of Chris Rogers, Cameron White and Louis Cameron in two impressive spells.
He admits he's still finding his red-ball form after a successful stint with the Sydney Sixers in the Twenty20 Champions League but says his return for the Blues is the ideal preparation if he gets a run in Adelaide.
"It was good to get out there for an extended time with the Blues boys and have a bit of fun and take a few wickets," he said.
"Obviously it's a different game with the red ball so it was good to get some overs under the belt and take some wickets."
Meanwhile, Starc says Australia's quicks landed some psychological blows in Brisbane and has every confidence the hosts can take the required 20 wickets to win on what is expected to be a benign Adelaide deck.
"Well we did it last year against India so there's absolutely no reason why we can't do against the South Africans this year," he said.
"There's not too much life about the Adelaide wicket but in saying that there's not too much life in the SCG wicket and we managed to take a lot of wickets there in the last few days."Adelaide's going to be tough but if we get our plans in place and get our execution right there's no reason why we can't take 20 wickets."
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