Article

Saker excited by superb Cummins comeback

18 March 2017 16:16

David Saker says the returning Pat Cummins has exceeded the expectations of Australia's coaching team with his performance in the third Test against India.

In the absence of Mitchell Starc, ruled out of the remainder of the series with a stress fracture in his right foot, Australia took the bold decision of calling up Cummins in Ranchi.

Having burst on to the scene as a teenager back in 2011, Cummins has been plagued by injury problems and went more than five years without playing first-class cricket before taking eight wickets on his comeback for New South Wales earlier this month.

Yet his lack of red-ball action has not been apparent so far this week, with the 23-year-old the clear pick of Australia's attack.

Cummins finished day three with figures of 4-59 from 25 overs as India reached 360-6 in reply to Australia's 451 all out, thanks largely to an unbeaten 130 from Cheteshwar Pujara.

"It's superb," said Australia bowling coach Saker of Cummins. "I thought last night [Friday] he bowled particularly well, but today he backed that up.

"To produce some of the balls that he produced to get wickets is pretty exciting. It's probably hats off to the selectors to go with him. We know ball speed in India is a big thing because the wickets don't generate any pace.

"He was way higher than probably the expectations we had. We know what sort of talent he has, but it was just so pleasing to see him go well."

Cummins' first victim on Saturday was India skipper Virat Kohli, whose lean series continued as he made just six before edging to opposite number Steve Smith at second slip.

"It's very satisfying getting Virat Kohli out cheaply, that's for sure," Saker added.

"There's no set plan for how we're going to get him out, we just try to put as much pressure on certain batters when they come in. We've had some good success against him in this series."

Saker also hailed Glenn Maxwell, who prevented a boundary and saved a run with some fine fielding the ball before Kohli was dismissed.

"That's the sort of little thing we talk a lot about in the dressing room," said Saker. "If we do the little things really well, the big things look after themselves. That chase kept Virat Kohli on strike and we got the wicket the very next ball."

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