Mitchell Starc helps New South Wales earn reward for the toil
StumpsTasmania 6 for 258 (Webster 65, Doolan 58, Silk 41, Starc 2-36, Abbott 2-50) v New South Wales
An impressive late spell from Mitchell Starc helped give New South Wales the honours on the opening day against Tasmania in the rearranged fixture at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.
Starc, who claimed just one wicket in the opening-round match against Queensland, removed Test team-mate Matthew Wade during the afternoon and then found some reverse swing with the old ball, pinning Caleb Jewell lbw with a wicked yorker shortly before stumps.
Worse was to follow for Tasmania whenBeau Webster, who came into the Tasmania side at the expense of George Bailey, was run out for a studious 65 as Sean Abbott came across from his follow through to intercept Tim Paine's nudge to the off side to leave the visitors on 6 for 254.
The match was moved to Drummoyne from the SCG earlier this week and a surface that had only had a few days of preparation did not offer much of anything to any of the bowlers. But New South Wales worked hard to keep the run rate in control and after a wicketless opening session claimed three in each of the next two.
They had made a tough selection call in the morning leaving out Harry Conway despite his career-best figures of 10 for 56 at the Gabba last week, opting for a five-man attack with two spinners, as Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe both played their first matches of the season.
Having gone in with one batsman less, they were then hit with a blow when Kurtis Patterson re-injured his quad chasing a ball to the boundary and it remains to be seen how much of a part he will play over the next three days.
Barely a ball beat the bat during the opening session as Jordan Silk and Alex Doolan lay the foundation before New South Wales started to make inroads after lunch. Abbott produced an excellent six-over spell to remove both openers through catches to first slip.
Wade couldn't take the opportunity of the strong base and friendly batting conditions to bolster his tally ahead of Test selection. Facing Starc, another man who needs to nudge the selectors early season, he attempted to pull a very wide delivery and toe-ended to mid-off for an ugly dismissal.
The credit in the bank of two Ashes hundreds will probably be enough for Wade to retain his spot - not least because there are form and injury issues with some of the contenders - but he will want a substantial score over the next week or so.
At 3 for 146 in conditions offering very little for the bowlers, New South Wales were handily placed and they could have made another incision after tea when Steven Smith spilled Ben McDermott at slip off Lyon on 24. That miss only cost 14 runs, however, with McDermott falling to a horrid top edge as he aimed to swing Lyon over the leg side.