Cummins leaves legends in awe after ruining surprise start

Pat Cummins has again proven why he is among the world’s best bowlers, producing a fantastic spell to put Australia back on top in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.

Proceedings looked evenly-poised midway through the day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the visitors bowling the Aussies out for 318 and the top-order batsman doing a solid job.

At one stage, Fox Cricket commentator Ian Smith even pointed out the surprising nature of the direction of the iconic fixture.

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“Everyone expected Australia to dominate … it’s not been the case today at all,” the former Kiwi wicket-keeper said. 

But as hard as Pakistan fought, the quicker they were outmatched by the world’s best Test lineup, with Cummins doing a bulk of the damage with three wickets, including claiming a stunning caught-and-bowled before knocking over Babar Azam.

The skipper finished the day with figures of 3-37 and earned high praise from Kerry O’Keeffe, who compared him to one of Australia’s greatest seam bowlers upon replay of the Babar dismissal.

“It’s jagged back, it wasn’t Babar’s best forward press,” he said during the Fox Cricket coverage.

“Cummins is just doing enough to evade a tentative bat and hit the top of off. He was sublime there.

“The biggest asset that Pat Cummins has is that he doesn’t do a lot – he just does enough.

“Glenn McGrath had that, they weren’t extreme [pace or swing].”

English great Michael Vaughan also applauded Cummins for his tireless efforts with ball in hand.

“He really has bowled incredible today, he’s got the ball moving around at great pace,” he said.

The captain himself spoke to the host broadcaster at the conclusion of play, admitting his rhythm had improved and revealed the pitch was still working in the bowlers’ favour.

“I thought we bowled decently before tea without too much reward. It was good at the end there to get a few big wickets … we’re well into their order now,” Cummins said.

“The rhythym felt a bit better today. It’s one of those things, if you slow everything down and concentrate on rhythm, you actually find a few extra kilometres.

“There’s still enough in it. If you bowl in the right areas, it feels like the odd one is gonna nibble.”

Cummins also admitted the approach to Babar was to ‘keep it simple’ before bowling him with arguably the best ball of the day.

Josh Hazlewod also chimed in nicely with some tidy bowling, while off-spinner Nathan Lyon claimed the two huge scalps of Abdullah Shafique (62) and Shan Masood (54).

Earlier in the day at the MCG, Mitchell Marsh survived two shocking calls from umpire Joel Wilson to make an entertaining 41, but the tail failed to wag as the Aussies were rolled before lunch.

Play will resume on Thursday morning with Pakistan trailing by 124 runs with four wickets in hand and the game in the balance. 

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