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
Runs conceded: 43
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.
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.
Steve Smith has been magnificent, super-human almost, but don't forget the bowlers that take the wickets. Pat Cummins has been excellent throughout and Josh Hazlewood is always good.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 8, 2019
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.
Remember when Pat Cummins was the broken fast bowler of Australian cricket. He has graduated to being the constant in their fast-bowling ranks in an impressive “ASHES” campaign.— Ian bishop (@irbishi) September 8, 2019
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