England be warned: Starc makes history with two hat-tricks in one game

AFP
Starc finished with the match figures of seven for 97 in New South Wales' 171-run victory over Western Australia.
AFP
AFP

Australia captain Steve Smith (second right) takes a break with teammate Nathan Lyon (left), Josh Hazlewood (second left) and Mitchell Starc as they train with their New South Wales state team in Sydney on November 2, 2017.

Strike bowler Mitchell Starc became the first man to take two hat-tricks in the same first-class game in Australia on Tuesday as he hit ominous form ahead of the Ashes test series against England.

The left-arm paceman became only the eighth player in first-class cricket history — and the first in 39 years — to achieve the feat as he spearheaded New South Wales to victory over Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield.

Having removed Jason Behrendorff, David Moody and Simon Mackin in WA's first innings to complete his first career hat-trick, Starc then got both Behrendorff and Moody again off the final two deliveries of his 15th over.

Jono Wells then edged Starc on the first ball of his next over to Australia and NSW captain Steve Smith at first slip to end the match.

Starc, 27, finished with the match figures of seven for 97 in NSW's 171-run victory.

He also took a career-best 8-73 for NSW against South Australia under lights at Adelaide Oval and looks in ominous touch ahead of the test series.

Australia takes on England in the first of five Ashes test matches in Brisbane, starting on November 23, , where the hosts are expected to field the all-NSW bowling attack of Starc and his fellow quicks Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins and spinner Nathan Lyon.

Australian leg-spinner Jimmy Matthews remains the only player to take two hat-tricks in a test match after he did it against South Africa in Manchester in 1912.

In further bad news for England, paceman Steven Finn is out of the entire Ashes tour with a knee injury, team officials said on Tuesday.

Finn, who missed the opening tour match in Perth last weekend, had scans which revealed a torn left knee cartilage.

The Middlesex seamer sustained the injury during practice last week in Perth and will now return home, where he will consult a specialist to see whether he needs an operation.

A team spokesman said England would shortly announce his replacement for the rest of the Australian tour.

It ends another miserable tour to Australia for Finn, who left the previous 2013/14 trip under a cloud when coach Ashley Giles declared him "unselectable".

Finn only made the current tour when he was added to the squad in place of the suspended Ben Stokes.

"When you're a late call-up to the squad and have been out of selection for the past six months or so, you definitely do have a point to prove," Finn said last week before the injury.

Coach Trevor Bayliss told reporters on Tuesday: "He had an injection a couple of days ago which they thought would help."

Among those in contention to replace Finn are Tom Curran, who played for England earlier this year, Tom Helm or Liam Plunkett, who has signed up to play in a 10-over tournament in the United Arab Emirates next month.

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