Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood, Lyon – The Australian team was together and the chants continued » Today Latest Stories

Alex Malcolm

Watch – Cummins strikes early on Day 3

Nightwatcher Khurram Shahzad was shot by the Australian captain

There’s something special about watching a big four-piece band perform. There’s a familiarity, a familiarity to how they come together to make the music they do.

For Australia, the third day in Perth against Pakistan was a case of getting the team back together. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon were back together for the first time since Lord’s as Australia went 2-0 up in the Ashes series. And it was the first time they had played together since Perth last year when they became the first four-man raider to take 200 wickets each.

Secrets Tips

They are the longest bowling quartet in Test history, having featured together in 24 Tests. On a Perth ground that was large enough for all four, they played a remarkable feat.

It wasn’t a rock show that melted your face. It was a long over of 101.5 as the team came together and the music was at its peak to bowl Pakistan out for 271 to establish a 216-run lead over Australia. For Pakistan’s batsmen, there was no respite. No nonsense. There is no time to rest easy. The bowling was steady and, in some ways, he did well to stretch the innings to the extent that he did.

The return of Lyon, the band’s longtime drummer, elevates the quartet to a new level. Coach Andrew McDonald spoke in preparation for how Lyon’s absence from the last three Ashes Tests had “disrupted” the attack. Its importance was demonstrated in Perth.

Secrets Tips

On the second day, Pakistan’s openers got off to a good start from three big runs to 74 for 0 after 36 overs. The hosts had put in a good performance but the crowd was still not impressed. The drummer had to change the tempo. Rounds the rib to Abdullah Shafique and puts a leg slip. It took three balls for Shafique to aim one straight to the legs.

On the third day, Lyon changed the tempo again. Imam-ul-Haq was expected to deliver 198 for 62, batting patiently and weaving against the quicks and staying on Lyon. He went across the wicket to the left and reduced the pace, Imam was tempted to jump and swung hard and stumbled by a mile.

Watch – Shakeel released by Hazlewood

He also batted briefly in Pakistan, before Hazlewood batted

While the drummer set the tempo, Hazlewood set the music. He’s like a bass guitar player. Metronomic, unwavering, constantly removing to drive the band forward. He didn’t get a reward even if he played well in football. He batted all day.

But finally, later that day, his band mates let him sing alone, and he hit the speaker with the heaviest voice of the day. Saud Shakeel looked impressive in his first match for Australia. Unexpectedly, after hitting Shakeel’s length, he got a single up his neck and the left-hander stopped him at slip.

Starc is the guitarist. He is mysterious, he has a habit of breaking strings and guitars. But his best riffs are out of this world. Towards the end of the second day, as he didn’t bowl the new ball, he got another one off late from Shan Masood for a catch outside off.

Then on the third day, with a 76-over-old ball, he delivered a scorching inswinger at 140.1kph that sent Sarfaraz Ahmed’s off-stump flying and sent the stadium into rapture. He later sprayed the second ball all over the place and left the field after having trouble with his bowling shoes.

But the band continued to play when Starc got a new guitar. The frontman took control of the show. Cummins is the lead singer. He is not the flamboyant Freddie Mercury type. But he is the face of the group, stable, steadfast, and the glue that brings it all together.

The results on the third day were amazing. He set the tone for the show with a legbreaker to take out the night guard in the opener. He also threw the best of the day to Agha Salman which did not work. He struck out five of his six at bats, and the sixth was off the front foot. Four balls went past the outside edge swinging away from his length. The other one swung across the inside edge and hit Salman’s front. Umpire Richard Illingworth went up with the crowd and gave Salman out. The decision-making system did not reward the ball because tracking the ball showed that it was doing too much and missing the stump.

Cummins would later be rewarded with Faheem Ashraf spooning to catch to midwicket.

Watch – Sarfaraz was mesmerized by Starc’s beauty

The left-hander got his second wicket of the match

Hazlewood said there is a trust between the four when they come together as a unit.

“I think everyone just plays their role and they do it well, for the most part. We’re all a little bit different, obviously. Starcy is attacking a lot. Maybe a little bit of speed here and there, but hell fire. Patty and me and Gaz (Lyon) don’t run laps. most of the time I’m trying to create pressure that way and kind of hinder the attacking team.

“I just feel like we’re going to jump really well. And that was the case today out there. I was hitting him in the throat a lot of times. So it was fun.

As the group grew, they added other pieces to add depth to the sound. Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head also played their part. Marsh made it his solo of the day, removing Babar Azam with a beautiful river to scratch the edge.

Head made a late cameo to deny Lyon his 500th Test wicket, when Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled him to mid-on.

All in all, it was a great show with six men playing their roles. The group was united, and everyone contributed the necessary money to bring it together. It’s what makes Australia great and consistent. When they are fit and shot there are no weak links.

The show goes on and the sound goes on.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo


A self-motivated and hard-working individual, I am currently engaged in the field of digital marketing to pursue my passion of writing and strategising. I have been awarded an MSc in Marketing and Strategy with Distinction by the University of Warwick with a special focus in Mobile Marketing. On the other hand, I have earned my undergraduate degrees in Liberal Education and Business Administration from FLAME University with a specialisation in Marketing and Psychology.

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