Pat Cummins (c) celebrates dismissing Pakistan dangerman Babar Azam
Pat Cummins (centre) celebrates dismissing Pakistan dangerman Babar Azam lbw at the SCG. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
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Skipper Cummins claims five, Pakistan fight back late

Scott Bailey January 3, 2024

Pat Cummins’ golden summer has extended into his home Test in Sydney, bagging his third five-wicket haul in a row for Australia to help dismiss Pakistan for 313.

On an action-filled day to kickstart David Warner’s farewell, Cummins was again his country’s best with 5-57 before a 86-run 10th-wicket partnership put Pakistan back in the match.

That left Warner needing to face one over before stumps, with the retiring opener walking through a guard of honour from Pakistan en route to the crease.

warner
 David Warner faced an eventful over before stumps and will resume batting on day two on Thursday. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

The left-hander cut his first ball from spinner Sajid Khan for four, hit a two on the legside and then narrowly survived being bowled when he almost chopped on. 

It left Australia 0-6 at the close, on a day when Cummins again flexed his muscle as one of the world’s top-ranked bowlers.

Cummins’ wickets included Pakistan star Babar Azam, as well as Mohammad Rizwan just as the wicketkeeper-batsman threatened to put his side back into the match. 

With Rizwan motoring towards a century, Cummins brought himself into the attack just before tea and had the right-hander top-edging a bouncer to fine leg.

The breakthrough ended a quickfire 94-run sixth-wicket partnership between Rizwan and Agha Salman (53), and sparked a collapse of 4-37 as Pakistan fell from 5-190. 

Cummins took two further wickets in that run, taking his record for the series to 18 wickets at 11.33 0 – a major reason why Australia are 2-0 up headed into the final Test.

He became the first Australian since Nathan Lyon in 2017 to take three successive five-wicket hauls. 

The last time an Australian took four in a row was back in 2004 when Shane Warne achieved the feat.

Australia’s skipper has had a knack of bringing himself on at the right times in recent months, doing so in the fourth innings at the MCG last week.

“He’s an incredible bowler and I think if you look back at all the best bowlers in the history of cricket, they’ve always had that in them,” Mitch Marsh said after play. 

“The ability to come on and take a wicket when the team needs to. 

“There’s always going to be spells where he’s got his tail up and the ball’s swinging and nipping. 

“But I think the best part about Patty is that he always finds a way for us.” 

Making Cummins’ streak even more impressive is he continues to get the big wickets.

He again got the better of Babar with a ball that tailed back in and trapped him lbw for 26.

And when Cummins had Saud Shakeel caught behind for five, Pakistan were reeling at 4-47 after an opening hour where they’d lost both their openers for ducks.

At that point, it looked likely Australia could roll through Pakistan for a score close to 200.

Aamir Jamal
 Aamir Jamal frustrated Australia with his defiant innings of 82 in the third Test at the SCG. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

But Rizwan and No.9 Aamir Jamal had other ideas.

Rizwan started the revival by scoop-pulling Josh Hazlewood for six, and later slog-swept Nathan Lyon for another maximum to go with his 10 fours.

And when he fell to Cummins, it was left to Aamir to take over.

Playing in his first series, the Pakistan quick smashed 82 from 97 deliveries, making use of a softening ball and Australia’s short-ball approach.

He dominated his final-wicket stand with Mir Hamza, who batted for a crucial 93 minutes and finished 7no.

Together the pair have given Pakistan hope as they have improved drastically from when they were 2-4 in the second over.