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Sri Lanka tour of Australia

Lyon defends Starc, says criticism of under-fire paceman 'unfair'

Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon defended Mitchell Starc ahead of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka, saying criticism of the paceman's recent struggles was "unfair".

Starc has long been Australia's strike bowler but has suffered a dip in his form this summer, taking just 15 wickets at 36.46 in five Test matches.

"I don't understand all the criticism, to be honest," Lyon said, according to cricket.com.au.

"He has 200 Test wickets, so if anyone can get 200 Test wickets you must know what you are doing...

Mitch has got all of my support and everyone's support in that change room, so it is pretty unfair criticism in my eyes."

‘Starc needs to get his act together’

Former national selector Mark Waugh became the latest Australian Test veteran to criticize Starc, saying the 29-year-old "needs to get his act together and start getting some wickets" or risk replacement.

"I think as the season's got longer his form has actually dropped off even more," Waugh told Sky Sports Radio.

"He's got to start getting some wickets and getting some balls in the right areas.

Meanwhile all eyes have been on Marcus Stoinis after he was called into the extended squad for the second Test in Canberra, taking over Mitchell Marsh's all-rounder spot.

Stoinis, who has been in good white-ball form, told reporters Tuesday he would "look to play my natural game" if given his Test debut.

Australia thrashed Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs in the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday, and Lyon said he was focused on securing another victory when the second Test kicks off on Friday.

"I'm worried about coming out here and making sure that each and every Australian plays our role and performs to the best of our ability, and making sure that we can get another win for Australian fans," he said.