Cummins targets full series, Starc eyes Derbyshire
World's No.1 Test bowler set for much-needed rest as left-arm tearaway aims to impress against county opposition
27 August 2019, 04:55 PM AEST
Pat Cummins says he's fit and ready to play all five Test this Ashes series as the world's No.1 ranked Test bowler looks to spearhead Australia to claiming the Ashes on English soil for the first time in 18 years.
Only off-spinner Nathan Lyon has bowled more overs than Cummins this series, and the speedster is the leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps at an average of 18.52.
Cummins is the only one of the fast bowling group who hasn't been rested for a Test after three matches that see the series locked at 1-1, with Australia needing just one more win in the final two Tests to retain the Ashes.
Off the back of nearly 34 overs of graft in the Leeds Test match, Cummins said he has surprised even himself at how well he's feeling, even joking he'd be ready to "roll out 30 or 40 overs" in this week's tour match against Derbyshire.
Cummins is certain to be rested for the three-day match that starts Thursday as he eyes the Old Trafford Test in Manchester from September 4.
"I'm feeling really good actually," Cummins said in the aftermath of the Leeds result.
"If you'd asked me that a few months ago after the World Cup and three Tests, I would have thought I'd be a bit more tired and rundown than I'm feeling now.
"So I'll have a bit of a break after this and be right for Manchester, then see how we go."
England's Jofra Archer was the World Cup's busiest bowler with 100.5 overs in the tournament, but he missed the first Test of the Ashes. Cummins bowled 86.1 overs in Australia's World Cup campaign that ended in semi-final defeat to England, with only Mitchell Starc (at 92.2 overs) sending down more for Australia.
Starc has been sidelined by Australia's selectors for the first three Tests of the series but the left-armer with a Test career strike-rate of 49.9 will no doubt look to unleash on the Derbyshire batters this week.
"I'm sure he'll be bowling pretty fast down there (in Derby)," Cummins said.
"The couple of net sessions I've seen him bowl out here he's been fast, so I'm sure he'll be one to keep an eye on this week."
Whether Australia's pace-bowling reserve stocks of Starc, Peter Siddle and Michael Neser can unseat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood or James Pattinson for the fourth Test remain to be seen, with selectors having shown they are not afraid to shuffle the line-up based on conditions.
But after bowling England out for just 67 in the first innings Cummins said the Australian squad were confident they had the firepower to win at least one of the final two Tests.
"I think the most pleasing thing for us, one we bowled really well, but (also) I feel like we've got really good plans and processes to all of them," Cummins said.
"Ben Stokes obviously had a day out (Sunday) and was probably playing more like one-day cricket towards the end there but we saw (on the third day) they batted for 70 overs and we kept them to two runs an over and always felt like we were in the game.
"All three games we've been in a match-winning position so we know how to do 99 per cent of it. Hopefully we can get over the line in the next one."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval