Not surprised that India came hard in Melbourne Test: Cummins

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30 Dec 2020 | 07:00 AM

Not surprised that India came hard in Melbourne Test: Cummins

Despite the eight-wicket loss in Melbourne, Cummins said the effort of the bowling group was good in the Test



Not surprised with Indian team's retaliatory act in the second Test, Australian speedster Pat Cummins says they will assess the fight put up by the visitors and be ready for combat when the third Test begins in Sydney from January 7.

India shrugged off the Adelaide Test humiliation to level the four-match series 1-1 with an eight wicket win in Melbourne inside four days.

"Any side, once they have a big loss, you know they are going to come back little-bit harder. Everyone's incredibly proud when you are playing at this level, so no real surprise that they (India) came out really hard," Cummins said at a virtual press conference.

"They bowled and batted really well in this game and were absolutely up for the fight so we need to assess that ahead of the next game and make sure that we can combat that," he said.

The speedster was also impressed with young India opener Shubman Gill, who on his debut made 45 and unbeaten 35 in Melbourne.

"Shuby (Gill) looked good in his first Test. He is quite a calm character. Looks like, similar way he wants to play, wants to take the game on, which as a bowler provides opportunities, some days it will come off, some days it won't," he said.

Cummins has got the better of Cheteshwar Pujara thrice in the two Test matches so far but he insisted that they have not devised any special plan for the Saurashtra batsman.

"The reality is I don't really know, just try and ball good balls, make a decision whether to play or leave it (for him) and just try and do it as long as we can. Fortunately, it has come off so far pretty early in his innings.

"There is nothing drastically changed and we (are) just going to try and concentrate on what we do well for a longer (period) and so far, it has worked. I'll be lying if I say we have got this grand plan that we have changed (for him)."

Despite the eight-wicket loss in Melbourne, Cummins said the effort of the bowling group was good in the Test.

"Our efforts and execution was really good. We created lots of chances, especially the first innings. To bowl a side out for 300 on the MCG, a really good wicket, and creating so many chances is a big tick. So, pretty happy from that regard (but) there are things to work on.

"Rahane batted beautifully, so look at what we could have done differently and review that. Overall it was a good performance from the quicks and Lyona (Nathon Lyon)," he added while also praising his co-pacer Mitchell Starc.

Now that Cricket Australia has confirmed Sydney as the venue for the third Test, 27-year-old Cummins is delighted to play at his home ground.

"Happy to get back to the SCG. Really special Test match here and our record there is really good. In terms of pitch, it is probably closer to the MCG than other wickets, in terms of, it is normally quite dry and a little-bit slow.

"But for Nathan Lyon, there is normally turn, so excited to get on different wicket and playing in front of the home fans is really special," he added.

Cummins, who has 153 wickets from 32 Tests, also feels that Aussies may not play with two spinners in Sydney.

"Not a selector, but I would say probably not, we are lucky that in our side we have got someone like Marnus (Labuschagne), he can bowl some leg-spin overs as well," he said.

Cummins backs top Aussie batsmen to come good

The Australian team is not fretting over the lack of form of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne as they are "massive run scorers" and would come good in the remaining two Tests against India, Cummins said.

Smith, who was named Test player of the decade this week, has managed just 10 runs in the first two matches, while Labuschagne could not capitalise on the starts with scores of 47, 6, 48 and 28 in the four innings so far.

"I think we all hold such high standards, that is because they do go and seem to score runs just about every time. But the reality is it's only been two Test matches," Cummins said.

"They (Smith and Labuschagne) are both massive run-scorers. Steve has been a champion for a dozen years or so (there is) absolutely no stress at all. Every player goes through ups and downs and the great ones find a way to get back, so absolutely no stress at all, they will come good, I am sure."

The 26-year-old Labuschagne has scored 1588 runs at 58.81 in 16 Tests since bursting on to the scene, while Smith hit successive centuries in the ODI series against India last month.

"For guys like that (Smith and Marnus), they don't need to look too far backwards," Cummins said.

"Marnus absolutely churned them out and dominated last summer. Steve was only a month ago that he scored two back-to-back hundreds in one-dayers, off 70 balls, so no stress, I am sure, they will find a way."

Australia have struggled to put up a big score on board, managing 191 in the first innings in Adelaide Test, which they won by eight wickets, while scoring 195 and 200 in their eight-wicket loss to India at the MCG.

Cummins admitted there were areas to improve but exuded confidence that his batters will find their way back.

"It's only been two Test matches, we've really only had three innings, so it's probably too small a sample size to say people need to change the way they go about things, but for sure, there's certain areas we can improve on.

"I'm sure we'll find a way like our batters have time and time again," he said.

Cummins said pink-ball Tests are great spectacle but red-ball cricket remains his first love.

"I still love Test cricket with the red-ball as well. Pink ball … a spectacle … is great as an event, I'll have one or two tests maybe a year," he said.

"But for me I think red ball Test is … that's not going anywhere, that creates the fairest contest between bat and ball.

"I think we had some great pink ball test matches and Adelaide Oval has done a great job with the pitch they have provided (for it)."

Cummins picked South African AB de Villiers as the toughest batsman that he has bowled to in his career.

"I think I had to say Ab De Villiers is probably my toughest batter I have bowled to, especially in 2018 Test series.

"He just looks a class above and you feel like anytime he can switch over in T20 mode and batting with the tail, he can make hundred in five overs, so I'd say him."

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AustraliaPatrick James CumminsIndia tour of Australia, 2020/21Australia vs India - 2nd Test - Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2020/21

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