Thanks to Pat Cummins and one of the great deliveries of the summer, KEN PIESSE says Australia could take a 2-0 lead into the Sydney Test as early as Friday.
As jaffas go, it was as sweet a delivery as I have seen all century at the ‘G.
Pat Cummins’ high-speed seamer which castled Pakistan’s ‘Bradman’, Babar Azam, was nigh unplayable.
It’s right up there with Warnie’s castling of Englishman Andrew Strauss for his 700th Test wicket in 2006 and Brett Lee’s yorking of South Africa’s champion Jacques Kallis 12 months earlier.
Cummins helped swing the game after Pakistan’s won back to back sessions in front of 40,000-plus on the second day.
In taking three key wickets, Cummins was consistently hostile and in a low-scoring game Australia is well placed to win, maybe even by Friday.
‘If you bowl in the right areas, you feel like one is going to nip,’ Cummins said after play. ‘One (the Babar delivery) went a fair way!’
Babar was late on his defensive shot and inside edged the high pace seamer back onto his off stump. It was a gem of a delivery.
Earlier, as has become tradition at Melbourne’s Christmas Test, the biggest cheers were reserved for the spinners.
Fittingly, cricket’s latest 500 wickets man, Nathan Lyon was operating from the Shane Warne Grandstand end when he took the first Pakistani wicket, stonewalling opener Imam ul Haq with his 16th delivery, a spitting off break caught at second slip.
The Pakistani top-order was immediately ringed by close-in fieldsmen.
With his shaved head, white sunglasses and trailing towel, there is no more easy to identify cricketer than Lyon, making it totally unnecessary for him to wear a number on his back.
Within three overs, he had master-minded Australia’s first breakthrough and long after play was seen signing autographs and having selfies taken with his adoring fans.
Right on 3.50 pm there was a further roar when the crowd stood and doffed their hats in tribute of Warne, who was Australia’s 350th Test player.
The pitch is still good, ensuring play into a fourth day on Friday, but the late afternoon collapse by the Pakistanis after so much good work by captain Shan Masood and Abdullah Rafique was again an indication of a giant mis-match.
KEN PIESSE’s 66th cricket book, David Warner, The Bull, Daring to be different, is available from cricketbooks.com.au
KEN PIESSE has covered cricket and football for more than 30 years in Melbourne. Despite that setback, Ken has written, published and edited 86 books on cricket and AFL football to become Australian sport’s most prolific author.
His latest cricket book is David Warner, The Bull, Daring to be Different with Wilkinson Publishing, out now