BRISBANE: Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc says there are encouraging signs for Australia in the Ashes series after winning the early battles with England's top batting duo Joe Root and Alastair Cook at the Gabba.
The Australians are sailing to apparent victory in the first Test, just 56 runs away and with 10 wickets in hand, after restricting skipper Root to a second-innings half-century and twice dismissing senior batsman Cook cheaply.
Much depended on Root Sunday after he was out for 15 in the first innings, but he perished lbw for 51.
Former Test skipper Cook had a poor match, scoring just two and seven and facing a total of only 24 balls.
"It's still a long way to go in the series, but encouraging signs for us," Starc said after Sunday's fourth day.
"We knew the two guys in their line-up we'd have to keep quiet throughout the series, being so experienced and important in their line-up.
"Obviously, Cookie has scored 10 runs or something over two innings... a big plus for us there.
"Joe, we've found a way to get him out both innings. Conditions will change as we go to different places in Australia, but it's a great start with the first Test."
Starc said he was delighted to have had to bowl a total of just 44 overs in the first Test, leaving him well placed for the second Test in Adelaide starting on Saturday.
"It's a good feeling knowing that when I wake up in the morning I won't have to bowl," he said. "It won't be an issue backing up: all good."
The decision by Australia's selectors to pick just four front-line bowlers puts a lot of pressure on the pace trio to back up, but Starc said there were no concerns.
"I think we bowled 50 overs every Test match last summer. I don't see why it's any different this summer," he said.
"I expect it to be the same squad and hopefully the same line-up going into Adelaide as well."
Starc praised the contribution of off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the Gabba Test after he finished with five wickets in the match.
"He's been fantastic. He's obviously had a bit to say over the last couple of weeks but he's backed it up with the ball," Starc said.
"He's enjoying himself out on the field and he's backing it up with his bowling.
"He's been bowling so well at one end, which allows us (fast bowlers) to come from the other end in short, sharp spells.
"He's been great for us, and he's got a few rewards over the course of two innings."