Australia’s bowling stocks are surging after James Pattinson followed Pat Cummins as the second youngster to star on debut in as many cricket Tests.
The 21-year-old Victorian looked set to feature with 18-year-old Cummins in Australian attacks for years to come after turning the first Test against New Zealand into a nine-wicket rout on the fourth day.
Pattinson, who took five for 27, was on a hat-trick at the Gabba after taking three wickets in four balls in the second over of the day, reducing New Zealand to 4-17.
They never recovered.
It was only Pattinson’s 10th first-class game and he became the youngest Australian debutant to claim a five-wicket bag on home soil since 21-year-old Dennis Lillee burst onto the scene in the 1971 Ashes.
That’s still older than Cummins who grabbed a five-wicket haul in the team’s previous outing, the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Fans will have fingers crossed that Cummins is cleared to return and play alongside Pattinson after resting a sore heel when the team for the second Test in Hobart is named on Monday.
“If he (Cummins) is fit it would be hard to leave him out given his performance in South Africa,” said Australia captain Michael Clarke, whose 139 laid the platform for the Gabba win.
Australia went into the Test with the most inexperienced attack since Merv Hughes, Bruce Reid and Chris Matthews ran out against England in 1986 with nine caps between them.
Australia’s current attack, featuring debutants Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, had 30 caps – 25 of them to Peter Siddle and the other five to spinner Nathan Lyon.
But Clarke will now be confident his men will not only bully New Zealand in Hobart but even threaten India in this summer’s four-Test series.
“There are some young players who have been around first-class cricket now involved in the Australian set up who have had a lot of talent. It’s just about giving them an opportunity,” Clarke said.
“We know we have the talent, we just need to improve the consistency.”
Pattinson – who had match figures of 6-91 – combined well with the hard-working Siddle but Starc (2-123 for the Test) may make way if Cummins returns.
And Lyon had the best performance by an off spinner at the Gabba in the ground’s 80-year Test history.
Lyon (3-19) mopped up the tail to secure match figures of 7-88 on Sunday as New Zealand were routed for 150 to set Australia just 19 runs for victory.
Australia lost Phil Hughes for seven – after he was dropped the previous ball – before Test debutant David Warner thrashed the winning boundary.
The promising bowling display – and Cummins’ likely return – will help Australia cope with the news that first Test 12th man Ben Cutting could be out for up to eight weeks with a side strain.
South Australian allrounder Dan Christian is on standby for the second Test.