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Starc and Smith star in Shield cricket

By AAP Newswire

Mitchell Starc has staked a strong claim for Australia's third Test pace bowling spot and fellow New South Welshman Steve Smith has rattled off another century.

Left-arm speedster Starc took 3-4 in his spell early on Saturday and finished with 5-40 against Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield clash at Drummoyne Oval.

Smith scored in his first Shield innings for NSW in Sydney in almost two years, finishing day two at 102 not out.

He scored just 20 between lunch and tea and 156 balls for his first 50 but scored more briskly in the final session to add 186 for the third wicket with former Australian allrounder Moises Henriques (116 not out).

Starc played just one match in the recent Ashes series, making 4-126 in the fourth Test win at Old Trafford.

He had a modest start to the domestic season, taking just 1-129 for NSW against Queensland in the opening Shield round.

"It was nice to chat to Dre (NSW bowling coach Andre Adams) through the week and work on a little bit and nice to see it pay off this week out here," Starc told AAP.

"Just changing a little bit through the week, being a bit clearer in what I wanted to do getting back into Australian conditions.

"There's plenty of cricket between now and the Tests. I'll just worry about this week first.

'Bowl second innings and then six T20s, so not even worried about the Test matches at the moment.

"Trying to win games for NSW and then change to white-ball focus for a one-dayer on Wednesday."

Left-arm quick Starc, who got reverse swing late on Friday, struck twice in three balls in his first over on Saturday, with Australian captain Tim Paine among his victims.

With rested state teammates Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood seemingly assured of spots for the first Test against Pakistan in November, Starc is primarily battling with Victorians and Ashes squad colleagues James Pattinson and Peter Siddle for the other place.

Michael Neser, the other quick in the Ashes squad, gave selectors a timely nudge on Friday by taking 5-56 for Queensland against South Australia

Western Australia's highly rated Jhye Richardson, who played his first two Tests against Sri Lanka earlier this year is another potential candidate.

He followed up his 3-58 in the only innings in which he bowled against Tasmania last week, with exactly the same figures against Victoria in Perth.

Pattinson, who took 1-87 in last week's high scoring draw with Victoria, dismissed dropped Test batsman Cameron Bancroft for 10 on Saturday.

Siddle, who is playing his first domestic game of the campaign,bowled Sam Whiteman for 28.

Bancroft's opening partner for the first two Ashes Tests, David Warner, also had a lean day.

He made just one off 15 balls against Tasmania before a wild slash outside off stump off Sam Rainbird resulted in him being caught behind by Australian captain Tim Paine.

In Brisbane, Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne couldnt convert a start, scoring 32 off 50 balls for Queensland against Tasmania.

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