Why Starc has the edge over Siddle
Australia is on the verge of finally unleashing former pace spearhead Mitchell Starc on the Ashes, with the fiery left-armer's reverse swing mastery set to give him the edge over Peter Siddle ahead of the decisive fourth Test.
There's just one place left to be confirmed in Australia's XI for the fourth Test at Old Trafford, with Starc locked in a battle with Siddle to round out the tourist's attack.
It's a clash of styles: Siddle's unerring control against Starc's explosive, but occasionally erratic, pace.
Siddle was favoured in the Australia's opening two Tests before losing his spot for the third Test defeat at Headingley, where James Pattinson was recalled to feature alongside Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
Pattinson has been rested this week and so, with the Ashes on the line, Australia turns its eye to Starc - the powerhouse paceman with 211 Test wickets to his name and the potential to run riot.
Working in Starc's favour is Old Trafford's reputation for producing reverse swing - one of the big left-armer's biggest assets - and the potential for bringing Nathan Lyon into the game more.
Captain Tim Paine said the team will have one more look at the wicket on Wednesday before making a final call, but noted that the dryness of the pitch could encourage reverse swing and bring Starc into the contest.
What did we miss the last Ashes Test? The Starc yorkers!! pic.twitter.com/PlX7D6tm50— Izz (@Pacebouncy) August 29, 2019
"Certainly the dryness of the square as well can play a part in (getting the ball to reverse) and obviously Starcy is a really great exponent of reverse swing if he can get it to happen," Paine said on Tuesday.
"So, again, if that is the case then he will be a dangerous proposition."
After being overlooked for the first three Tests, Starc ripped into an outclassed Derbyshire XI in last week's tour game - finishing with match figures of 7-85 in an ominous display, while Siddle took 3-32 in a typically economical performance.
While the quality of the opposition was far from the ideal preparation, Paine was encouraged by Starc's showing.
"Starcy bowled superbly last week down at Derby, he's been working really hard at getting his length right and we were really impressed with what he did down there," Paine added.
"He held his pace back a little bit, got the ball in the right area and swung it when he needed to, then we know what he can do to tail end batters when he really cranks it up.
"The boys have been calling him 'The Mop' for a few years now, that's a thing he does really well, and even when you've got a couple of set batters you've got a big, tall left-armer who can bowl 150kph and can shake things up a little bit.
"He's a great option for us, we think this wicket might suit him and if we make that call we're sure he'll do a great job as he has over his whole career."