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'Big Four' a fearsome Ashes prospect

Form of Cummins and Pattinson sets tongues wagging with an eye to next summer's Ashes

Pat Cummins’ re-emergence in Test cricket and the stellar form of James Pattinson in the Sheffield Shield has former England skipper Michael Vaughan already fearing Australia’s pace attack ahead of next summer’s Ashes.

The prospect of Cummins, Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood all fit and firing together is the stuff of batsmen’s nightmares and it could soon become reality with the final few pieces falling into place.

Quick Single: Pujara, Cummins star on tense day three

Cummins showed no signs of rust in his Test return in Ranchi to easily be the pick of the Australia bowlers on day three, finishing with 4-59 from 25 overs after being called up to replace the injured Starc, who was ruled out the series with a fractured foot but is expected to be right for the Champions Trophy in the UK this winter.

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While Cummins and Hazlewood were toiling away on the benign surface in the third Test against India at JSCA Stadium, Pattinson was destroying the Queensland Bulls in Brisbane with 5-7 from six furious overs at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

Pattinson rips through Bulls in Shield

All things going to plan, the 'Big Four' fast bowlers of Australian cricket should be primed to tear into England at the Gabba on November 23, and that prospect has Vaughan scared stiff.


However, fitting all four speedsters into the same XI is a problem the National Selection Panel will undoubtedly welcome.

Bupa Support Team Assistant coach David Saker says Australia’s fast-bowling stocks don’t end with the aforementioned quartet, but is as excited as anyone at the possibility of Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Pattinson firing on all cylinders in unison.

“It will be a bit of a headache for the selectors when it does happen,” Saker said on Saturday. “It’s really good to see.

“Patty (Cummins) today going really well, Josh and Mitch had a fantastic summer.

“Then we’ve got Jimmy Pattinson, the way he’s come back in the last few Shield games and he’s got another chance in a Shield final, so that’s really good for him and good for Australian cricket.

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“To be strong in world cricket and especially the Australian team you need a good crop of fast bowlers and we’ve got that at the moment, but we’ve had a lot of problems getting them on the park.

“There are still other back-up bowlers.

“Jackson Bird is here, he does a fantastic job when he’s called upon.

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“Peter Siddle’s been outstanding for long periods of time.

“Chadd Sayers again, probably one of the (most) unlucky fast bowlers in Australian cricket.

“We’ve got a good crop so that’s exciting for me and the Australian cricket team.”

Cummins strikes to continue Kohli's lean run

Cummins has been the missing member of the awesome foursome having battled countless injury setbacks since his stunning Test debut in South Africa five-and-a-half-years ago.

But now the 23-year-old is back wearing the Baggy Green, this time with a hardened body and remodelled action that has so far delivered the goods in Ranchi.

He bowled with pace, bounce and accuracy against a determined Indian batting group on a sapping day three, claiming the prize scalp of Virat Kohli for just six to continue the India captain’s poor series.

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Cummins’ three other wickets came from bouncers, an extraordinary feat when taking into account the lifeless surface that has offered no assistance to any bowler, whether they be of the spin, seam or spin variety.

The right-armer was clocked at speeds in excess of 150kph and Saker could not take the smile off his face when speaking about his star pupil after play.

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“I thought last night he bowled particularly well but today he backed that up, and to produce some of the balls he produced to get wickets is pretty exciting,” Saker said.

“Hats off to the selectors to go with him.

“Ball speed in India is a big thing because the wickets don’t generate any pace.

“But he was way higher (in speed) than the expectations we had.

“We know what talent he is but it’s so pleasing to see him go so well.”