Mitchell Starc bowling in Dubai
Mitchell Starc (Getty Images)

Pacer Mitchell Starc was made to toil hard in searing heat of Dubai even as Australia sealed an epic draw on the final day of the first Test against Pakistan. Starc bowled over 40 overs and was rewarded with just one wicket as he battled cramps and testing conditions for pace bowling after returning from injury.

While spinners expectedly took the centrestage, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas stood out among the quick bowlers with seven wickets across two innings. Australia have taken note of the areas Abbas pitched his deliveries and the field placements especially when the ball was reversing.

“(We were) taking notice of some of their field placements, particularly Abbas when he was getting that ball to reverse,” Starc was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Monday. “He’s very consistent and he bowled really well in the first innings, was pretty successful and again in the second innings.

“Obviously he’s not very fast but he’s very consistent in where he was putting the ball and challenging our defence all the time.

“Some of the fields they had to the quicks when it was reversing we took notice of. He was very consistent and patient over where he was bowling and waited for the batsmen to make errors.

“We were pretty good for the most part, we stuck to our plans (but) it’s definitely something we can take out of the way he approached his fast bowling.”

Starc, 28, said Australia were prepared for the conditions and knew being patience will be the key in the UAE. “From a fast bowling point of view, we knew we couldn’t bowl like we would in Australia we had to take the ego out of it and the aggressiveness with our bowling out of it, really play a patient and persistence game.

“Right from the start of the tour I knew I had to change my role a little bit in terms of the way I go about my bowling, aggressive lines and lengths and try to blast guys out, you can’t really do that here on wickets that are so low and have no bounce.”

On Sunday, Australia were pleasantly surprised after finding a greentop at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. But Starc isn’t too optimistic saying the grass could be shaved overnight which is what they are expecting.

“It might be completely different tomorrow when they cut the grass off. If we were playing on it today, the fast bowlers would be pretty happy with the covering of grass. A lot of us expect that grass to be gone by tomorrow and probably even less come game day. We’re ready for whatever they throw at us and will try to back up from a good fight in that first Test,” he said.

The second Test starts from Tuesday.