Pat Cummins has made a successful and long-awaited return to Test cricket with a four-wicket haul in India’s first innings in a gripping match that ended in a draw.
The Mt Riverview native played his first and only Test as an 18-year-old in South Africa in November, 2011. In a memorable debut, he took seven wickets and was named man of the match.
But since then, a series of stress fractures in his back and foot threatened his career. With hard work and some personal coaching from the legendary Dennis Lillee, he has regained peak fitness and form and was rushed to India after quick Mitchell Starc succumbed to his own foot fracture.
In a marathon effort in Ranchi, he bowled over three days as the Indians amassed a big first innings lead. He bowled 39 overs and took 4-106. Australia’s batsmen then hung on for a draw, finishing at 6-204.
The next few days will be crucial to see how Cummins’ fitness holds up after such a massive effort.
Cummins has been gradually building up his overs since October, playing in different formats of the game at grade, state and international level. He helped his Penrith grade club win the limited-overs cup final and also played in one-day series against Pakistan and against New Zealand.
He returned to the red ball game in NSW’s Sheffield Shield match against South Australia, where he was named man-of-the-match after taking eight wickets in the outright win.