MITCHELL STARC might be the least experienced member of Australia's one-day international attack but the young gun has assumed the roles played previously by its most experienced bowler.
With veteran speedster Brett Lee nursing a foot injury that has interrupted his summer, Starc is fast becoming Michael Clarke's go-to man with the white ball.
In a ringing endorsement of the left-arm pace ace's credentials, Starc is fulfilling the key jobs of new-ball strike force, powerplay weapon and ice-cold death bowler in the pressure-packed final overs.
Aged 22, Starc, unlike Lee, Ryan Harris and Clint McKay, will be entering his prime when Australia co-hosts the next World Cup in 2015. It is therefore no surprise he is already being given the opportunity to harness his skills for those vital phases of the game with the ball.
Starc landed in Adelaide last night for today's tri-series clash against India with his confidence further boosted by Australia's narrow escape against Sri Lanka in Perth. With Sri Lanka needing 18 runs to win in the last over of the match, the NSW product conceded a four and a six from his first two balls but re-gathered his composure to close out the game.
In doing so he avoided joining the likes of Bruce Reid and Simon Davis as players whose teams suffered improbable defeats after final-over meltdowns with the ball.
''That will certainly help Mitchell Starc, that's for sure,'' Clarke said. ''He'll learn a lot from that. He'll take a lot of confidence going into future games knowing that if he executes his skills he can become a good death bowler. He probably felt a bit of pressure those last two overs he bowled but to be able to come out on top was a really positive sign for him.''
Starc, after making 14 invaluable runs with the bat, set Australia on the way to victory by removing Upul Tharanga in a new-ball spell during which he beat the bat on several occasions with his late swing.
''He's been bowling very well at the start of the innings, that's for sure,'' Clarke said. ''I think he continues to improve. He's a young kid with a lot of talent and very good work ethic. He trains hard, he looks to improve every day at training and I think we're seeing some improvements over the last 12 months.
''He's bowled well in Test cricket and now he's bowled well in one-day cricket.''
Starc's ability to bounce back in the face of adversity impressed Angelo Mathews and prevented the Sri Lankan vice-captain from stealing victory for his country.
''The latter stages the pressure is on - when the bowlers are under pressure they tend to crack but he held his nerve pretty well in the last couple of overs,'' Mathews said.
Dan Christian was another ODI newcomer to prosper in Perth, earning rave reviews for his efforts with the bat, ball and in the field after backing up his 33 with two wickets and the catch that ended the game.
Peter Forrest appears set to make his ODI debut today after selectors elected to rest Michael Hussey, though all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is also in contention to play after joining the squad last night.