Having been poised on 299 after South Africa’s first innings, Starc produced a magnificent delivery which swung back into van der Dussen shortly before lunch, zipping through a huge gap between bat and pad.
“I’m not sure I’d get one wicket let alone 300,” Starc said on Thursday. “It’s been an interesting but very enjoyable journey. Hopefully there’s a bit more left in it.”
Starc had entered the game on 296 scalps and despite a somewhat indifferent start in the first innings he soon added to his tally when Dean Elgar gloved down the leg side.
He then ended South Africa’s recovery, which came through a fifth-wicket stand of 98, when Temba Bavuma got a thin inside edge into his stumps against a delivery that shaped back nicely. No. 299 came when Keshav Maharaj sent an edge low to second slip.
The landmark moment was delayed, however, when Travis Head spilled a sharp chance at short leg from Kagiso Rabada then he was withdrawn from the attack before the innings ended.
Starc joins Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Nathan Lyon, Dennis Lillee, Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee on 300 Test wickets. He has comfortably the best strike-rate among that list at 49.5.
“He’s had a lot of ups and downs which I think just makes you stronger as a cricketer and as a person in general,” long-time team-mate Usman Khawaja said. “He doesn’t listen to much of the white noise. He knows what he has to do. He’s actually got a lot more skills now than before. He just used to try to swing it and when the ball stopped swinging he really didn’t have much else. Now he can swing it in, bowl wobble seam, he’s got a lot more accuracy.”
Starc’s 100th wicket came against Sri Lanka in 2016 when he claimed Kusal Perera and his 200th against the same opponents, and also at the Gabba, when he removed Suranga Lakmal in 2019.
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