Pat Cummins saves Australia’s holiday week with his best bowling and batting figures on the same day.
Now deep in the Christmas gusset, fast bowlers are on a killing spree. Little parish boy with a soup bowl wanted more as Duanne Olivier got 11 in the match against Pakistan. The same narrative has controlled the Melbourne Test as well. Jasprit Bumrah picked six in the first innings which featured the ball of the winter; a dipping slower ball to dismiss Shaun Marsh.
Elsewhere, Cameron Bancroft’s statement to ‘fit in’ and accusing David Warner when coupled with Steve Smith’s ‘paid to win’ comment seems to have brought back Australia’s recent catastrophe. Nobody in Australia wants to hear it. They want their team to play cricket, fight and win. They are not going to win this one though, but they want to fight. Fight like Pat Cummins.
Virat Kohli at peak of his tactical leadership backed by his fearsome pace battery threatened to end the boxing day test inside four days. But not to be. They are forced to come out and try again on the final day because of Pat Cummins’ herculean effort.
Cummins bowled 34 overs in the first innings and dismissed India’s top three. He was then asked to serve as the night watchman and when he eventually came out to bat, he scored 17. The 48 deliveries he batted for was the second most in that batting order. Kohli’s decision to bat again forced him to come back and bowl with a very little recovery period. Fast, cagey and accurate, Cummins removed India’s top five. His spell late on the third day can be described as a juggernaut demolishing just anything and everything kept ahead.
On Day 4 with Australia tottering at 157 for six, Cummins walked to bat and batted till stumps with 61 runs having played 103 deliveries, the most by any Australian batsman in the second innings. Decisive singles, cautious check drives, timely blocks frustrated the Indians on the field, delighted the Australian in the stands and test cricket romantics around the globe.
|K Rabada (SA)||10||52||20.07||3.15||38.2|
|MDK Perera (SL)||11||50||29.32||3.11||56.4|
|NM Lyon (AUS)||10||49||34.02||2.7||75.3|
|JJ Bumrah (INDIA)||9||47||21.46||2.67||48.2|
|Mohammed Shami (INDIA)||12||47||26.97||3.3||49|
|PJ Cummins (AUS)||8||44||19.97||2.79||42.8|
In fact, in this century, Cummins is only the second cricketer to achieve a double of over 75 runs and above 9 wickets in a match after Mitchell Johnson did it in 2013 against England at Brisbane.
His bowling average, stingingly good at 19.9 this year is the best among all the bowlers who have taken 40 wickets.
Cummins the bowler, is more than just pace and accuracy.
Like Bumrah, Cummins plans for every batsman. While bowling to Joe Root in the past, Cummo got enough deliveries shaping away and then pushed the booming in-swinger that trapped Root on the crease, plumb in front. In this particular Test, when he realized the nature of the pitch, Cummins ran in and hit the hard length which troubled the Indian batsmen.
India, who’ve just secured an unassailable lead, going 2-1 would want to sit back and reflect on a bloke who’s been a near nemesis in the true sense of the word.
Cummins didn’t get to a hundred.
But, even then, he has done enough to inspire his team before they take the field in Sydney and more so to provide a little joy to the Australian fans who have had a pretty tough year themselves.
And for that Cummins must Pat himself on the back should anyone shy away from doing so unreasonably.