Mitchell Starc has blasted Theunis de Bruyn for wandering out of his crease too early on day four of the Boxing Day Test, warning the South African batter rather than affecting a Mankad. Starc was bowling with a badly damaged finger at the MCG on Thursday when he noticed de Bruyn was leaving his crease at the non-striker's end way too early.
Starc pulled out of his delivery stride before bowling one ball, before lashing out at de Bruyn after he did it a second time. "Just stay in your crease, it's not that hard. The line is there for a reason mate," he shot at the South African batter.
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Starc would have been well within his rights to run de Bruyn out at the non-striker's end, a dismissal often referred to as a 'Mankad'. The dismissal is still highly controversial in the cricket world despite the ICC recently moving to make it a legitimate method of dismissal when it was previously deemed 'unfair play'.
Many believe a bowler should warn the non-striker before running them out for leaving early, which Starc did on Thursday. The Aussie fast bowler has warned batters a number of times in recent months, including England captain Jos Buttler at the T20 World Cup.
Cricket fans erupted over Starc's actions on Thursday, with many taking aim at de Bruyn for his carelessness. Some praised Starc for showing sportsmanship in not running de Bruyn out, while some were critical of the fact he didn't.
"I don't think he (de Bruyn) was trying to gain an advantage," Damien Fleming said on Channel 7. "He just wasn't paying attention."
Speaking to Fox Sports during a drinks break, Starc said: "He was halfway down Punt Road I think. I was just letting him know that if I have to keep my foot behind the line he can stay in his crease."
The very next ball after Starc blasted de Bruyn, the left-arm paceman trapped Saral Erwee lbw for 21. Scott Boland then dismissed de Bruyn soon after for 28, caught by Steve Smith at second slip. Boland could be seen giving de Bruyn a bit of a spray as the Aussies delighted in his dismissal.
Starc's display with the ball has been nothing short of courageous after he damaged his finger in the field on day one while attempting to take a catch. The paceman was seen wiping blood off the badly damaged finger, which has seen him ruled out of the final Test of the series in Sydney.
Australia went on to dismiss South Africa for 204 to claim victory by an innings and 182 runs. It gives them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series - their first triumph over South Africa on home soil in 17 years.
Josh Hazlewood declares fitness for SCG Test
Meanwhile, injured paceman Josh Hazlewood has declared himself ready to go for the third Test at the SCG. All-rounder Cameron Green also has a broken finger, which is set to rule him out for the remainder of the summer.
But Hazlewood, who hasn't played since the first Test against the West Indies, says he's ready to return from a side strain. "A few more overs to bowl during this game out in the nets but I had a good hit-out two days ago," the fast bowler told SEN radio.
"All the signs are good so I feel ready and fit. If I could bank on less than 30 overs (at the MCG) I would have been sweet, but if it goes deep ... 40 overs might have been a stretch. So I made the call before the game."
Hazlewood has endured a frustrating 12 months after he missed four of the five Ashes Tests last summer, also due to a side strain. "It was a very minor strain this time so a lot different to last year," he said on Thursday. "(I) had a week off bowling, came back and didn't feel it at all. It was just about the workloads and getting that confidence for this game."
The Aussies will consider playing an extra spinner at the SCG, while former captain Ricky Ponting has touted West Australian all-rounder Aaron Hardie to replace Green. Tearaway paceman Lance Morris, who was brought into the squad for the Adelaide Test against the West Indies, could make his debut in Sydney.
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