Cum­mins fast to please Aussie quick shows why he is world’s best with a su­per­hu­man per­for­mance

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORTS - RUS­SELL GOULD

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.

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