Australia in SA

Cummins on 'exciting debut'

2011-11-17 21:34
Pat Cummins (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg -Teenage debutant Pat Cummins celebrated a "brilliant day" after Australia sent South Africa tumbling to 266 all out on the first day of the second and final Test at the Wanderers on Thursday.

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Cummins only took one wicket but generated impressive pace after becoming the second youngest Australian to play Test cricket.

"It was pretty exciting," said Cummins of a day when Australia played themselves into contention for a win which would earn them a share of the series following an eight-wicket defeat in the first Test in Cape Town.

Cummins, 18, who said being handed his baggy green cap by Australian great Ricky Ponting was "really special," paid tribute to his fellow bowlers.

"We bowled in good partnerships. Mitchell Johnson got some swing and I could concentrate on being aggressive while Siddy (Peter Siddle) got in their face a bit and it worked," he said.

South Africa lost their last six wickets for 25 runs on what looked a good batting pitch, although South African batsman Jacques Kallis said there was some life in the surface which the home team's fast bowlers hoped to exploit.

A depleted Australian bowling attack could not have hoped for a better day. Fast bowler Ryan Harris could not play because of a back injury while all-rounder Shane Watson pulled up with a hamstring injury five balls into his fourth over. He was off the field for more than two hours.

Kallis, AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince all made half-centuries for the host nation but failed to kick on, while South Africa's two best partnerships ended with both partners out in quick succession.

Kallis and Hashim Amla put on 80 for the third wicket before Kallis, who made a stroke-filled 54 off 41 balls, prodded a catch to midwicket. He was followed soon afterwards by Amla, who played a loose drive against Pat Cummins to be caught at second slip after a patient innings of 19.

De Villiers and Prince added 112 for the fifth wicket before Prince's dismissal for 50, caught at mid-on off a poor shot against Nathan Lyon, sparked South Africa's collapse soon after tea.

Six balls later De Villiers went for an extravagant pull shot against Siddle and was out for 64.

"There were far too many soft dismissals," said Kallis. "There was poor execution and shot-making."

Kallis said that although it was a good pitch, there was good carry for the fast bowlers and some balls held up on the pitch, including the ball that got him out.

Siddle finished as Australia's most successful bowler, taking three for 69, while spinners Lyon and captain Michael Clarke both took two wickets.

Cummins claimed the wicket of Amla while conceding 38 runs in 15 overs. Cummins also took an outstanding catch to dismiss De Villiers when he had to turn, chase and dive to hold a top-edged pull at mid-on.

On a Wanderers pitch with less grass than usual, South Africa scored at four runs an over in hot, clear weather as they reached 213 for four off 53 overs at tea.

The light faded after tea as clouds came over the ground as a prelude to a thunderstorm but the light could not be held responsible for the shots played by Prince and De Villiers, while experienced wicketkeeper Mark Boucher also caused his own downfall with a top-edged hook against Siddle.

With South Africa eight down and the floodlights on, Clarke spoke to the umpires and decided to use himself in tandem with Lyon to avoid the players being taken off for bad light. He took the last two wickets with his left-arm spin.

At 18 years and 193 days, Cummins became the second youngest Australian Test player after Ian Craig, who was 17 years 239 days when he made his debut, also against South Africa, at Melbourne in 1952/53.

Kallis passed Brian Lara of the West Indies on the all-time Test run scoring list and reached 12 003 runs before he was out.

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