Hobart: Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc said on Sunday that Australia's embattled batsmen have been told to score "ugly runs" amid the fallout of yet another batting collapse in the Hobart Test.
Starc, who gave the home side a glimmer of hope by taking three wickets in 10 balls to reduce South Africa to 171 for five on Saturday after the Aussies were routed for 85, said his teammates had to curb their natural attacking tendencies.
The Australian team has been heavily criticised during the current series against the Proteas for their inability to bat to the circumstances. Starc said captain Steve Smith's message to the Australian batsmen during the Hobart Test had been clear.
"One thing he said was you've got to be happy to score ugly runs sometimes," Starc told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "Whether it's inside-edging a few runs to fine leg to get off strike or something like that, you've just got to find a way to score runs. You don't have to look good doing it, you've just got to get the runs on the board."
Starc admitted to conflicting instincts on whether to attack or defend during his brief knock of four runs while batting in Australia's ill-fated innings. "That did come into it, but for me you're in between a little bit," Starc said.
"You want to dig in for your team, but you want to play your natural game as well where you feel comfortable, and feel like you're going to spend as much time as you can out there," Starc added.
The southpaw said the South African openers "probably chose their shots a bit better than we did" during their innings Saturday.
Sunday's second day was washed out because of rain.