Cummins fast to please Aussie quick shows why he is world’s best with a superhuman performance
PAT Cummins has bowled more balls in international cricket in 2019 than any other fast bowler in the game.
After all that, he had yet more to give in the final Ashes Test at The Oval, bowling faster than he had in the series despite being the only Aussie quick to play all five matches.
But an unhealthy reliance on the No. 1 bowler in the world, and on the No.1 batsman Steve Smith, could cost Australia the chance to a break another Ashes drought and win a series in England for the first time in 18 years.
Cummins (inset) and his bowling brothers charged in on the third morning of the final Test with England already in front ont of the game, heeding a call l from Smith the day before e to “dig deep”.
“Even when you u are tired, you just have to keep giving a little bit more and the boys will do that,” Smith said d after a tired day-two wo batting effort from om Australia put the onus nus on the bowlers again.
But by lunchtime, with the sun baking London and sapping what energy the Aussie bowlers had left, having bowled on every day of the match, the home team were flying. Nathan Lyon took the only two wickets o of the session, but they came as England look looked to be batting aw away any chance of a f final Australian win.
The score was 2-88 at the break, England had a lead of 157 and the touri ists were giving all th they could but flaggin ging in the face of what could now be only a short wait to ho hold up the urn. Australian captain Tim Paine will happily accept the trophy they came to England to win when the final Test finishes, an opportunity guaranteed after last week’s success at Old Trafford.
But it took a toll, and with reports of illness among some players coupled with his decision to bowl first in London, and asking the fast men to perform five days in a row across back-to-back games, was telling.
Cummins pushed beyond 200 overs in a series for the first time in his 25-Test career.
But in a nod to not just his fitness but his desire to perform, his average bowling speed at The Oval was his fastest for the series.
His last ball of the morning session took his total to 2563 for 2019, through Tests against India, Sri Lanka and now England, plus every game for Australia at the World Cup.
Cummins has already taken 27 English wickets this series, more than anyone else, and only the superhuman run-scoring of Smith has bettered his efforts through five games on which he stamped his worldly authority.
“Patty bowls 20 overs and if you ask him how he’s going (he responds), ‘yeah, I’m sweet’,” teammate Mitch Marsh said. “He just doesn’t really get tired.” Australia’s final innings run chase could be hampered after opener Marcus Harris split the webbing on his finger when he dropped a catch off Joe Denly late on day two.
The Victorian needed seven stitches and was unable to field, but he was going to bat.