Cum­mins leads Aussies’ charge to dis­man­tle Ki­wis

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia - Pat Cum­mins put fur­ther day­light be­tween him and next-most pro­lific bowlers of 2019 with an­other dis­play of supreme pace bowl­ing as he claimed 5 for 28 to help dis­man­tle New Zealand on the third day at the MCG. James Pat­tin­son and Mitchell Starc shared the other five as Aus­tralia took a huge 319-run lead be­fore opt­ing to ex­tend that rather than en­force the fol­low-on

Cum­mins was on a hat-trick at the start of his sec­ond over of the day when he re­moved Ross Tay­lor and Henry Nicholls and Pat­tin­son’s first blow left New Zealand 5 for 58 with the only ques­tion be­ing how huge the deficit would be. In the end they were bun­dled out for 148, the first time they had been dis­missed for under 200 in three con­sec­u­tive in­nings since the 2007 tour of South Africa. Only Tom Latham, who faced 144 balls, passed 20 with a half-cen­tury of sig­nif­i­cant guts and de­ter­mi­na­tion but the rest of the New Zealand bat­ting could not with­stand the pace and con­sis­tency on dis­play as their hopes of at least keep­ing se­ries into Syd­ney all but van­ished. To com­pound their woes, Trent Boult was ruled out of the fi­nal Test after he suf­fered a frac­tured hand when hit by Starc while bat­ting.

The rest of the day was a cu­ri­ous dis­play from Aus­tralia who steadily in­creased their lead with­out show­ing much in­tent. There was a mo­ment of huge per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion for Neil Wag­ner who claimed his 200th Test wicket - the sec­ond-fastest New Zealan­der to the mark be­hind Richard Hadlee - by re­mov­ing Steven Smith for the fourth time in four in­nings when Smith helped a short ball off his hip to back­ward square leg. It will not make a dif­fer­ence to the re­sult, but it’s a tale Wag­ner will be able to tell for years to come.

New Zealand’s am­bi­tions at the start of the day rested on Latham and Tay­lor but that lasted just 12 balls as tech­nique and ticker was tested with ev­ery de­liv­ery. The first ball of Cum­mins’ sec­ond over drew Tay­lor into a flat-footed drive with the thick edge fly­ing quickly to Mar­nus Labuschagn­e at third slip where it was par­ried into the air and set­tled com­fort­ably for Joe Burns at first. Next ball, Cum­mins came around the wicket to Nicholls and pinned the left-han­der lbw with the re­view from Nicholls show­ing it would have hit the top of leg stump.

With the roar of the MCG crowd be­hind him, Cum­mins ran in for his hat-trick ball but B J Watling was able to keep it out. How­ever, hav­ing man­aged to get onto the front foot a cou­ple of times, Watling was not able to sur­vive much longer when Pat­tin­son, who was equally im­pres­sive on home soil, pro­duced a beauty that bounced from short of a length and took the shoul­der of the bat to first slip.

The bleed­ing was mo­men­tar­ily stopped by Latham and Colin de Grand­homme - helped by a sur­pris­ing over for Matthew Wade which cost 13, four more than Cum­mins con­ceded in his ini­tial five-over spell - as Latham con­tin­ued to show great com­po­sure in the face of the on­slaught. de Grand­homme was less con­vinc­ing and it was not a huge sur­prise when he fended an edge to gully off Starc.

Two balls later Starc, and the rest of the Aus­tralians, be­came con­vinced they had an­other when Mitchell Sant­ner fended a bouncer to leg gully. It was given not out on the field by Marais Eras­mus and Tim Paine re­viewed. As more re­plays came through the Aus­tralians be­come more sure, and with good rea­son, that it had brushed the wrist band be­fore com­ing off the arm guard but even­tu­ally third um­pire Aleem Dar said there wasn’t con­clu­sive ev­i­dence to over­turn. Paine was far from im­pressed and had a lengthy dis­cus­sion with Eras­mus.

It did not have much of a ma­te­rial im­pact on the pro­ceed­ings as Sant­ner man­aged 3 off 32 balls as he was pep­pered by the short ball, a work­ing over which ended when he edged a full de­liv­ery from Pat­tin­son. By then Cum­mins had halted Latham's dogged dis­play when the opener’s con­cen­tra­tion lapsed for a mo­ment, chas­ing a ball with some width, and he com­pleted his five wicket haul when Tim Southee pro­vided Paine with his fifth catch.

There was some mer­ri­ment in the fi­nal-wicket stand as Wag­ner stood up to the short ball and Boult showed var­i­ous tech­niques not in the coaching man­ual, but there was a heavy price to pay for Boult be­fore he was bowled by a Starc yorker.

After just 55 overs, New Zealand’s seam­ers were asked to strap on the bowl­ing boots again. Aus­tralia were not too fussed about press­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tor which led to so­porific pe­riod ei­ther side of tea al­though when­ever Wag­ner had the ball it was good view­ing.

David Warner tried to get a move on but slapped a short ball from Wag­ner to cover, Labuschagn­e was run out from short fine leg and, after briefly open­ing his shoul­ders with crisp straight six off Southee, Burns edged be­hind off Sant­ner.

Wag­ner was im­me­di­ately brought back to bowl at Smith and all it took was four balls. Ad­mit­tedly Smith had in­di­cated that he was look­ing to press on, but there was a look of an­guish and dis­ap­point­ment when he found the fielder. Teams around the world will have taken note, but whether they can pull it off as ef­fec­tively as Wag­ner re­mains to be seen. That head-to-head bat­tle has gone New Zealand's way, but the team one is em­phat­i­cally with Aus­tralia.

(AFP)

David Warner (left) and Pat Cum­mins cel­e­brate after dis­miss­ing New Zealand’s Tom Latham

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