Mitchell Starc passes Dennis Lillee record amid stunning Mitch Marsh act in second Test

Starc cemented his place in Aussie cricket history against New Zealand.

Mitchell Starc has cemented his place in cricket history after surpassing legendary fast bowler Dennis Lillee as Australia's fourth-highest Test wicket-taker of all time. Starc notched the incredible feat on day one of the second Test against New Zealand, after skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and decided to bowl in Christchurch.

Cummins' decision came after the skipper noted "a touch of green" on the wicket, in what is a fairly common sight for a day one pitch in New Zealand. His decision to send the home side into bat didn't pay immediate dividends as Kiwi openers Tom Latham and Will Young got off to solid starts after navigating through the opening 17 overs.

Mitch Marsh's superb slips catch saw Mitchell Starc equal Dennis Lillee with the fourth-most Test wickets of all time for Australia. Pic: Getty/Fox Cricket
Mitch Marsh's superb slips catch saw Mitchell Starc equal Dennis Lillee with the fourth-most Test wickets of all time for Australia. Pic: Getty/Fox Cricket

Young did ride his luck on eight after being put down by Travis Head at bat pad. Young pushed at a Cummins delivery that popped up off his pad and looped towards Head, who saw the ball spill from his grasp after diving to try and take a one-handed catch.

But the Kiwi opener was finally sent packing in the 18th over during Starc's second spell with the ball. The veteran Aussie quick came into the second and final Test against the Kiwis on 354 Test wickets, needing just one scalp to equal Lillee's record.

Cricket world hails historic Mitchell Starc moment

And Starc got the milestone wicket with a ball that swung in and caught the leading edge of the New Zealand opener's bat. Mitch Marsh dived to take a brilliant catch at third slip to send Young Packing for 14.

Starc broke Lillee's record later in the second session after a superb display of bowling. Kiwi batter Glenn Phillips became Starc's 356th Test scalp when he gloved a short ball to Carey and the paceman had Test wicket No.357 the very next ball when he trapped Scott Kuggeleijn in front for a golden duck.

Coach spray helped drive Mitchell Starc's career

Starc's stunning record is as much a testament to his longevity and durability as his devastating bowling ability with both the new and old ball. That has not always been the case for the 34-year-old, who said before the second Test that a brutal spray from former Australia coach Tim Nielsen helped him understand his body and manage injuries better.

"I remember early doors - it would have been my first or second tour - I was still learning what all those pains were," Starc said before the second Test against New Zealand. "Obviously the reports get around from physios to coaches, and I sort of got told to harden the 'F' up a little bit.

"Timmy Nielsen probably made me aware of that early doors, there's plenty of times you need to be honest with the medical staff but other times you've got to know when to push through things." Starc admits the former Australia coach's tough approach helped the paceman understand his body better and shaped his journey to becoming one of the mainstays in Aussie cricket.

"I was still learning how to bowl and what my body was telling me," Starc said. "I was still going through all those developing pains and what not, and my body adapting to things and it was like, 'your name's always down as you have this sore, that sore,' – there's good pain and bad pain. That probably pushed me a long way to working that out a bit quicker, and not having to say when everything was sore."

Pictured here, Aussie cricket star Mitchell Starc.
Mitchell Starc is seen here during Australia's Test cricket series against New Zealand . Pic: Getty

Josh Hazlewood rips through NZ batters

Friday's opening session in Christchurch saw the Kiwis go into lunch on 3-71 after Josh Hazlewood backed up the Starc wicket to claim two of his own. The Aussie quick drew a thin edge from Latham to send the opener packing for 38, before removing Rachin Ravindra (4) in the final ball before the break.


Hazlewood grabbed his third early in the second session when Daryl Mitchell (4) was caught behind by Alex Carey. And the Aussie paceman piled more pain onto the Kiwis moments later when he trapped milestone man Kane Williamson in front for 17 to leave the hosts reeling at 5-84. Cam Green removed Tom Blundell (22) after Starc's two quick wickets, before the home side staged a mini revival.

Matt Henry (29) and Tim Southee (26) did well to propel New Zealand past 160 when it looked as though their first innings would finish closer to 100. Black Caps skipper Southee fell to Aussie counterpart Cummins for his solitary wicket. While Henry became Hazlewood's (5-31) fifth scalp when he nicked one to Carey to leave the Kiwis all out for 162.

The second Test was a special one for veteran New Zealand duo Williamson and captain Tim Southee, who were celebrating their 100th Test milestones. Kiwi speedster Ben Sears was also selected to make his Test debut, while umpire Marais Erasmus was given a guard of honour from players after revealing this will be his final Test.

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