Ashes 2019: Pat Cummins is Australia's enforcer in stunning display

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Cummins has been Australia's hero with the ball.

Australia had to face an excruciating wait on the final day of the fourth Ashes Test but the visitors held firm to clinch a 185-run win just minutes before the close of play to take a decisive 2-1 lead in the series.

It saw Tim Paine become the first Australian skipper since Steve Waugh in 2001 to retain the Ashes urn on English soil and it came on the back of a determined and disciplined bowling display by the visitors on the final day.

While Steve Smith has carried Australia nearly single-handedly with the bat in the series, it is Pat Cummins who has spearheaded an excellent pace attack with aplomb.

The No1 ranked Test bowler in the world was in his elements again on Sunday at Old Trafford with a tireless display that played its part in carving up a hard-fought win for Australia.

Here, we take a closer look at Cummins’ bowling display in the second innings of the fourth Ashes Test.

SECOND INNINGS STATS

Wickets: 4

Runs conceded: 43

Overs: 24

Maidens: 9

Economy-rate: 1.79

30-SECOND REPORT

The Aussie pacer gave the visitors the perfect start with the ball late on Day Four with the double-strike of Rory Burns and England skipper Joe Root in the first over of the innings. He broke England’s resistance early on the final day as well with the dismissals of Jason Roy and Headingley hero Ben Stokes in the opening session.

The 26-year-old kept toiling at the English batsmen with extended bowling spells following some stiff resistance from the lower order but he was unable to complete what would have been a much-deserved five-wicket haul in the innings.

GOT RIGHT

Cummins’ delivery to shatter Joe Root’s stumps for a golden duck will probably go down as the ball of the series with the manner in which it held its line after pitching on off-stump. However, the pacer’s display was not just about moments of sheer brilliance but more a testament to his unwavering stamina and focus.

While England’s batsmen frustrated Australia for large parts of the day, Cummins continued to maintain his intensity in nearly every spell despite having to bowl a large number of overs.

The Aussie bowled 24 overs in the second innings while Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc bowled only approximately 30 overs between themselves. Despite having to carry most of the pace workload, Cummins was unrelenting with his excellent lines and lengths and continued to trouble the English batsmen.

The pacer was enforcer and workhorse in equal measure at Manchester as he has been throughout the series and was always ready to answer his skipper Tim Paine’s call no matter what the situation.

GOT WRONG

The only time where Cummins’ effort levels dropped in the day came towards the end of the second session where his speeds were noticeably down from his morning spell. Even then, his lines and lengths remained on point and he was soon firing on all cylinders once again when the hectic final session of the day came around.

VERDICT – 9/10

Steve Smith will deservedly take the plaudits but Cummins’ own magnificent effort cannot be ignored. The pacer finished as the highest wicket-taker in the preceding Ashes series win on home soil for Australia and he is now set to repeat that feat after extending his tally in the ongoing series to 22.

He has been on the money from the first Test at Edgbaston and has continued to get stronger in the series despite playing four matches on the bounce. His immense work-rate and stamina highlights the considerable improvement he has made to his fitness since his injury prone days of a few years ago.

Cummins had vowed to play all five Tests in the series upon his arrival in England and he is on course to fulfil that objective in some style. He is the player of the series with the ball so far by a clear distance.

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Ashes 2019: Joe Root proud of England display despite falling short in Manchester

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Joe Root and his men bid goodbye to their Ashes hopes.

England captain Joe Root expressed his disappointment at losing the Ashes but hailed the character of his side in pushing Australia to the wire.

Another rearguard action at Old Trafford fell short as the visitors triumphed by 185 runs to ensure the famous trophy will remain Down Under.

Root told Sky Sports: “I thought we showed great character, great fight and great belief in what we wanted to achieve.

“As last week we always believed, we always make sure we fight right until the end and we tried our hardest today.

“You can always look at different areas where you could have done things slightly differently but I couldn’t be more proud of the effort the guys put in today.”

A strong ninth wicket stand between Craig Overton and Jack Leach had briefly raised hopes of another stunning England escape, and Australia captain Tim Paine hailed his side’s resilience.

Paine said: “I was really proud today with how our bowlers kept sticking at it.

“This team’s been through a lot in the last 12 to 18 months and I think the character we’ve shown to bounce back – even from Headingley – shows a lot about the character of the people we’ve got in our side.

“It’s been an unbelievable series, it’s been intense, every game’s gone pretty

much down to the wire and that’s what we expected and prepared for.”

Australia’s batting talisman Steve Smith said the victory would take the pressure off the final Test at The Oval, in which England can now do no better than level the series.

Smith said:  “There’s another game left and we’d love to win it but to know it’s coming home is extremely satisfying.

“The boys were getting a bit tight out there but with the new ball we thought we’d get enough chances.

“I’ve been here a few times when things haven’t quite gone our way [so] to come back and get the urn here was always one to tick off my bucket list.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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Ashes 2019: Marnus Labuschagne turns unlikely hero as Australia breach English resistance to retain urn

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A pivotal breakthrough provided by Labuschagne.

England nearly pulled off another Headingley miracle but a determined Australia would not be denied the decisive lead in the Ashes with a thrilling 185-run win at Manchester.

The visitors started the final day in the penultimate Test eight wickets away from victory and they were frustrated for nearly 92 overs by England’s batsmen on Sunday before finally breaking through for a hard-fought win.

The win for the Aussies means that they have now retained the Ashes urn on English soil for the first time since 2001 by taking an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

At the end of what was another fantastic day of Test cricket in the Ashes, we look at the key talking points.

Superb Cummins gives Aussies the perfect start

It proved to be hard work for Australia to pick the remaining eight England wickets on the final day, with the bowlers being put through the grind. Despite the doggedness displayed by England’s batsmen, the Aussie bowlers kept coming at them with unwavering intensity with Pat Cummins exemplifying their relentless approach.

The Australia pacer had put the hosts on the back foot late on day four by dismissing Rory Burns and Joe Root and he gave Australia just the start they needed on Sunday with an excellent morning session.

Joe Denly and Jason Roy were starting to form a frustrating stand when Cummins bowled the latter through the gates, and the Australia pacer inflicted another big blow soon after by sending back England danger man Ben Stokes.

Buttler, Denly frustrate Aussies

England coach Trevor Bayliss had called for someone to be a hero for the hosts on the final day and he nearly got them in the form of Joe Denly and Jos Buttler. Denly stuck around at the crease despite the early England wickets on day five with the makeshift Test opener notching up his second fifty of the series.

His vigil, however, was ended soon after by Nathan Lyon in the second session before Mitchell Starc cut short Jonny Bairstow’s innings at the other end.

The hosts seemed to be on the brink at 138-6 but they mustered some resistance once again through Jos Buttler and Craig Overton. The pair kept Australia’s bowlers at bay for nearly 21 overs and ensured that the hosts went into the final session with four wickets still in hand.

Buttler was among the English batsmen to frustrate Australia.

Buttler was among the English batsmen to frustrate Australia.

Labuschagne turns Australia’s unlikely hero

Buttler and Overton were turning out to be unlikely heroes for England but their defence was finally broken in the final session by the excellent Josh Hazlewood. Buttler’s decision to leave Hazlewood’s delivery proved costly with the ball seaming in sharply to topple his off-stump and end a dogged 111-ball stay at the crease.

That wicket brought another one immediately after for Australia with Lyon striking for the second time to send back Jofra Archer. If the visitors thought the two wickets would open the floodgates, howeve,r they were grossly mistaken as Overton and Jack Leach mounted their own form of resistance.

The two tail-enders stood firm against Australia for nearly 15 overs and were getting closer to pulling off the improbable for England before an inspired bowling change saw Marnus Labuschagne breach Leach’s defiance. The part time leg-spinner found Leach’s outside edge and Matthew Wade made no mistake to gobble up the chance at short-leg.

The relief and jubilation were evident for the Aussies with the wicket coming just as their hopes were fading, and Hazlewood completed the job soon after by ending Overton’s 104-ball marathon.

The most unlikeliest of bowling heroes for Australia.

The most unlikeliest of bowling heroes for Australia.

Paine joins elite company

With Australia’s thrilling win, Tim Paine has now become the first visiting skipper to retain the Ashes urn on English soil since 2001. It was Steve Waugh’s side which achieved the feat on that occasion with a thumping 4-1 series victory over the hosts.

Since then, four visiting Australia sides have attempted to do the same but have ended up on the losing side on every occasion. It is a feat which has eluded the great Ricky Ponting as well as Michael Clarke and that fact puts Paine’s achievements into context.

It all follows from the most expected of international recalls for the Tasmania wicketkeeper-batsman last year in the aftermath of ‘Sandpapergate’ in South Africa. Paine has had his critics ever since the Test captaincy was thrust upon him in Australian cricket’s darkest hour, but the measured manner in which he has led the side to Ashes glory both home and away ensures him a legacy.

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