Pat Cummins is still learning the ropes of being captain and I’m sure he will regret declaring a little bit late but that wasn’t the reason Australia lost the fourth Test.
Cummins was superb on day five with his bowling changes, his DRS reviews and his own performance. Those two in-swinging deliveries which got rid of Jos Buttler and Mark Wood were insane.
As I wrote after day four, I thought it was “an unnecessarily late declaration” to wait those few extra overs after Usman Khawaja got his century but if we had good weather throughout this Test, I think the Australians would have won comfortably.
We lost seven overs due to wet weather today and that would have been enough to get the job done.
The coach, Justin Langer, would have had a say in the declaration as well but Cummins will learn from this. It’s another experience for him to go through.
What I found really exciting was that we got a glimpse for the first time with a fast-bowling captain that with the game on the line, we had someone who could grab the ball and win the game for his team with his bowling.
He doesn’t normally swing the ball too much because seam movement is his strength and he doesn’t get too many LBWs because he doesn’t bowl full enough but those two batters – Buttler and Wood – had zero chance against that kind of delivery.
When the game was in the balance, he stepped up and almost got us over the line.
All in all, another tick for Patty, I reckon.
Even though he had to miss a Test himself and Josh Hazlewood only played the series opener, the fast bowling cartel stocks have risen this series with Scott Boland, Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser emerging.
Boland could almost win player of the series. He’s equal third on the wicket-taking list despite only playing two Tests with 14 scalps at 8.64, one behind Mitchell Starc and another from first-placed Nathan Lyon. If he takes another bag I could see him ending up with the Compton-Miller Medal around his neck to go with the Johnny Mullagh one he received after his debut at the Boxing Day Test on his home deck in Melbourne.
He’s Bowlo the Bowling Machine. You set him on the same length at 135km/h and just watch him hit the same spot over and over again with just enough seam to worry the batters.
At 32, he reminds me a lot of Stuart Clark who also had to wait a long time before he got his chance at Test level and then thrived for a few years because he had a lot of experience under his belt.
He also had a bouncy, accurate stock ball and if you’ve got that, you’re going to get wickets at Test level.
Scott Boland! Because of course!
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 9, 2022
Lyon didn’t quite bowl us to victory but I like that quicker ball he’s developed – he got Ben Stokes in the first innings with it and it skidded through to dismiss Dawid Malan today, rolling out up to 10km/h faster.
I’m not sure if Starc is going to be right for the fifth Test, he’s looking a bit tired and if Richardson is over his shin problem, then you’ve got a readymade replacement.
It’s not often as a fast bowler that you get to play all five Tests and in a condensed schedule like this, it might be better to rest him but Starcy has earned the right to decide himself whether he thinks he’s not cooked.
Wait until a day or two before the game and ask him what he reckons. He was player of the series in the live Tests before this one but he wasn’t at his best in Sydney.
Cam Green backed up his 74 yesterday with another promising effort with the ball. His yorker to get rid of Zak Crawley was a beauty.
Wow. Just when you think what else has he got, he pulls out a fast in-swinging yorker.
Alex Carey dropped another one so it seems he must have some sort of technical issue when he dives away to his right but we’ve got a few subcontinent tours to find out more about him. He’s a sweeper with the bat so I think he will do well over there batting at seven.
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 9, 2022
For England they’ve got to find a replacement for Jos Buttler who’s going home with his busted hand. You can’t play Haseeb Hameed so unless they want to bring Rory Burns back in, they might as well move Malan up to opener so they can find room for Ollie Pope and Sam Billings.
Pope brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm when he subbed in as wicketkeeper in the second innings and Billings has been brought into the squad so you might as well give him a go with the gloves and see what you’ve got with him now that you’ve done that.
Crawley looks like he could be a find for them with his 77. He didn’t let the Aussie bowlers dictate play to him, Like Stokes and Bairstow in the first innings, he looked to score against them. They’re too good to keep waiting and waiting for bad balls because you could be waiting all day.
You’re not going to wear them down so you have to manufacture some aggression if you’re going to get runs against them.
England can be proud with the fight they displayed to save the game.