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Smith hails X-factor Starc after Test win

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Laine Clark

Two years ago, Australian quick Mitchell Starc was dismissed as "soft" by Test great Shane Warne after wilting in rising Gabba temperatures.

On Monday, Starc was the one who turned up the heat - much to Australian captain Steve Smith's relief.

Smith hailed Starc as Australia's X-factor after stepping up to help seal a dramatic 39-run first Test win over Pakistan in Brisbane on Monday.

Pakistan looked set to pull off a stunning world record run chase of 490 when No.6 Asad Shafiq moved to 137 with just 41 needed early on the final day to create history at the Gabba.

Enter Starc.

The lanky left-hander somehow produced a rising delivery with a soft pink ball that Shafiq could only bunt to David Warner at gully.

It reduced Pakistan to 9-449.

The inevitable came soon after, with the visitors bowled out for 450.

"It took a world-class performer in Mitchell Starc to step up and get us that wicket and crack it open for us," Smith said.

"They are the ones who have to step up and get it done.

"With a 60-over (old) pink ball that was pretty soft and not doing anything, it was great for him to get one to leap the way it did and get that wicket."

Starc finished with 4-119 to sabotage Pakistan's historic run chase.

He had match figures of 7-182.

It was a welcome return to form for Starc after an inconsistent 14 wickets at 30.14 in Australia's 2-1 Test series loss to South Africa this summer.

Now Australia just have to find a way to sustain it.

Starc has never played every Test of a home summer - mostly due to the controversial rotation policy.

Now that it has been ditched, Australia are contemplating injecting an allrounder into the squad for the Boxing Day Test to ease the burden on Starc and company.

An unchanged 12-strong squad was named for the Melbourne Test which included uncapped South Australian seamer Chadd Sayers.

Starc and Josh Hazlewood bowled a match total of 56 overs each in Brisbane, while Tasmanian seamer Jackson Bird had 45.

Which made Starc's match-turning effort all the more impressive to Smith.

"He bowled 56 overs for the game and to charge in like that, and bowl 145kph consistently throughout the whole match, a lot of credit has got to go to Starcy," Smith said.

Now the fatigued Aussie quicks have to back up for the second Test in Melbourne against a Pakistan side clearly up for a fight.

"We are going to have to see how they pull up over the next couple of days," Smith said of his pace attack.

"They are going to be put on ice over the next couple of days and try to get back a bit of energy."

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