New series, same old Cummins (he can do no wrong)
You don’t make bowlers with 250+ Test wickets look like amateurs, but Pat Cummins does that for a living these days.
After inserting West Indies into bat, both Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood toiled hard with the new ball. The duo bowled some really good balls but struggled to hit *that* perfect length on a rather strange Adelaide Oval wicket, where there was decent movement but inconsistent carry. Starc and Hazlewood, it felt, were put away a bit by the inconsistent carry.
Either way, after Starc and Hazlewood went 8 overs wicketless, it took Cummins just four balls to strike — or, rather, it took the skipper only four balls to show his colleagues ‘how it’s done’.
In his very first over, Cummins ditched the ‘good length’ plan and kept going full. He bowled full enough to entice the batters to drive. And his plan paid off as Tagenarine Chanderpaul, who’d been extremely cautious in his first 24 balls, threw his hands at a drive-able ball and paid the price for it. He was caught by Cameron Green, who took an exceptional catch at gully.
Cummins then worked over the big fish, Kraigg Brathwaite, and bowled his counterpart with this absolute peach. 👇
He then picked two more towards the end, including that of Joshua da Silva, who scored a ton in the warm-up match to finish with another 4+ wicket haul.
New year, new series, but Cummins can still do no wrong. His decision to bowl first was vindicated, too, as West Indies got bowled out for 188. Under Cummins, Australia have now opted to bowl first (at home) four times and have bowled out the opposition under 200 all four times.
Tough day for the Windies newbies, but Kirk McKenzie shines
There are few challenges in cricket tougher than batting in Australia against Cummins & Co, and understandably, it was a tough outing for the West Indian newbies.
The entire Windies middle-order had only three Tests between them, and the young croup unsurprisingly struggled, with Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge and Justin Greaves posting 13, 12 & 5, respectively. Both Athanaze and Hodge had decent starts, facing 30+ balls, but neither batter capitalized. As far as Greaves, his entire 9-ball stay was a tumultuous one.
However, one batter shone, and that was none other than Kirk McKenzie. Playing just his second Test, McKenzie battled hard and posted a very gritty half-century, becoming only the fifth West Indies No.3 batter this century to post a fifty-plus score in a Test in Australia.
He fell post-lunch but not before giving a very good account of himself.
Josh Hazlewood picks up from where he left off in Sydney
After a six-innings stretch in which he picked more than one wicket just once, Hazlewood has now picked up back-to-back 4-fers. The first of the four today, that of Athanaze, also helped him breach the 250-wicket barrier in Test cricket.
No Australian bowler put a foot wrong today, but still, Hazlewood was the pick of the bowlers. He was relentless from ball one and, despite not getting rewards early, came back to do the damage — just like he did at the SCG a couple of weeks ago.
At one point today, at 98/3, West Indies actually found themselves in a pretty respectable position. 250 looked like a realistic possibility at this stage.
However, Cummins brought back Hazlewood into the attack and the 33-year-old bowled an absolutely devastating second spell, taking 3 wickets in 5 overs while conceding just 12 runs. He first knocked over Hodge to end the dangerous 42-run fourth wicket stand and then got both McKenzie and Greaves in the space of six balls.
West Indies slumped from 98/3 to 108/6, and there was no coming back from that point.
Hazlewood’s figures took a slight beating towards the end due to Shamar Joseph’s assault, but you reckon he’ll take figures of 4/44 all day long.
Shamar Joseph’s dream start leaves Australia reeling
Some 3,000 kilometres away from Adelaide, Finn Allen, paid the ultimate homage to Brendon McCullum by playing an absolute cinema of a knock.
At the Adelaide Oval, meanwhile, Shamar Joseph, on debut, was the protagonist, antagonist and the movie itself - all in one.
An exciting youngster, Joseph entered this Test on the back of a lot of hype. And boy, on Day 1, he did everything he could to justify the hype.
Though a fast bowler primarily, it was with the bat that he initially entertained.
At 133/9, the Windies were looking at a sub-150 score, but Joseph walked in at No.11, fearlessly took on the Australian seamers and pushed the score to 188. The Australian pacers, particularly Hazlewood, bowled good-length deliveries in the hope that Joseph would nick one, but he instead hit all the deliveries back over the bowler’s head with utter disdain.
The sizzling knock with the bat itself was a spectacle, but Joseph went one better with the ball to bring Adelaide Oval to an absolute standstill.
He dismissed Steve Smith on his very first ball in international cricket and then, a few overs later, had Marnus Labuschagne caught at deep fine-leg.
Joseph, prior to the Test, was being hyped for his pace, and he gave his EVERYTHING out there on the field on Day 1, pushing the Australian batters to their toes with raw pace.
At 59/2, trailing by 129 runs, this is very much Australia’s game, but an early morning burst from Joseph tomorrow could really turn this contest into a very spicy one.
A Cameron Green masterclass on how to bat with the tail
How West Indies beat all odds to break a 27-year-old jinx at Gabba
Smith puts Australia on course to a 2-0 whitewash against Windies
Carey-Cummins rescue Australia after Roach's stunning spell at Gabba
Hazlewood’s perfect spell puts Australia on the brink of victory
Shamar Joseph’s dream start sees him dismiss Steve Smith first ball
West Indies falter, but Kirk McKenzie stands tall amidst the chaos
Josh Hazlewood becomes 11th Australian to pick 250 Test wickets
Put some respect on Pat Cummins the captain’s name