England Men's Tour of Australia
England can't help Fallins for leg-spin
Debutant 21-year-old leggie Daniel Fallins claimed four wickets with big-turning leg-breaks - including England captain Joe Root
8 November 2017, 09:18 PM AEST
A shock of sandy blond hair bounces as a bowler ambles in, the right arm whirs and the wrist flicks, a ball fizzes through the air and crashes into the stumps. It's leg-spin against England … stop me if you've heard this one before.
No, this isn't the second coming of Shane Keith, but an impressive first-class debut chapter in the career of 21-year-old NSW leg-spinner Daniel Fallins.
Likened to Stuart MacGill rather than Warne by astute observers, Fallins gives it a big rip and comes with his own 'double dab' signature celebration.
And he had plenty of opportunity to show off those celebrations after collecting four wickets on his first day of first-class cricket for the Cricket Australia XI on day one of the first-class match against England.
“Daniel Fallins is an exciting leg-spinner, he’s on the rev counter with the elite wrist spinners – he gives it a real tweak, not unlike Stuart MacGill," Cricket Australia's National Talent Manager – and national selector – Greg Chappell, said in September this year.
Attention please, we have a leg spinner with a Stuart MacGill viper stock ball ...welcome Daniel Fallins ...on debut CA X1 v Poms...wow !!!— Kerry O'Keeffe (@kokeeffe49) November 8, 2017
Fallins has long been on the radar of Australian cricket: he plays Premier Cricket with Sutherland appearing this year alongside Austin Waugh, the son of former Test captain Steve, and Shane Watson, taking 60 wickets across the previous two seasons. He has come through the under-age representative ranks with NSW and earned a rookie contract this year with the Blues.
He earned a call-up to the Toyota Futures League at the end of last summer, and claimed a spot in CA's National Performance Squad that saw him spend much of his winter in Brisbane at the Bupa National Cricket Centre. And when he wasn't there he was in Chennai bowling on subcontinent wickets at the MRF Academy.
"Training, lots of bowling, lots of batting – you get to work on all parts of your game up here," Fallins told cricket.com.au in June.
"It's just really making those one-percenters count. It's a great experience being able to bowl against the best batters and with the best coaches behind you to help, you just can't help but get better."
He earned a call-up to the CA XI in this summer's JLT One-Day Cup and was promptly tipped by coach Matthew Elliott as a surprise wicket-taking threat. He took a wicket in his first over, bowling Ben Dunk in a classic leg-spinner's dismissal.
He repeated that trick in his first-class debut at the Adelaide Oval against the touring English, claiming likely Magellan Ashes No.3 James Vince as his maiden first-class scalp.
He celebrated with the double dab, which in a pink-ball match under lights may well be more modern than many cricket traditionalists could handle.
"I was quite nervous last night, but getting a wicket in my first over really settled the nerves and the boys really got around me, so that was good," he told the cricket.com.au live stream after play.
"I've got a signature celebration, the double dab, so I thought I'd get it out today. I was still quite nervous but, you know, still got it in."
Put Fallins proved he's no one-trick pony, although his second wicket owed much to the athletic diving take at mid-wicket by Jake Carder.
The prize scalp arrived in the form of England captain and current world no.2 ranked Test batsman Joe Root. A swipe across the line, Root skied the ball to mid-off where NSW Blues teammate Ryan Gibson pouched the catch while back peddling.
Root already had 58 on the board and looked a class above, so may well have opted to hit out or get out, but will not have any wish to watch the replay.
Neither will Jonny Bairstow, who tried to late cut the leggie and was beaten by the quicker pace, and the soft hands of former Test wicketkeeper and current first-choice T20 international gloveman Tim Paine did the rest.
Impressively for a leg-spinner still learning his art, it took until the final ball of his 19th over before he bowled a bad one, a full toss slipped out of the hand and was smashed over the rope by Chris Woakes.
"Definitely as a leg-spinner you're used to getting hit around," Fallins said. "Shane Warne, the best at it, would get hit for six and come back like it was nothing, so that's an attribute you have to have when you're a leggie."
In 21 overs before the CA XI took the second new ball, Fallins had 4-71, with only four boundaries and the one six hit off his bowling.