Australia in SA

Clarke salutes teen Cummins

2011-11-21 22:13
Pat Cummins (File)

Johannesburg - Captain Michael Clarke hailed the "amazing" talents of paceman Pat Cummins, 18, after the debutant kept cool to secure a nerve-jangling two-wicket win for Australia in the second and final Test against South Africa on Monday.

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"It's not just because of his bowling. I've made it very clear to him I also think he's a very good batsman with a lot of talent," Clarke told reporters after his side rallied to earn a 1-1 draw in the series.

"He has a bright future and the potential to be an amazing cricketer for Australia. We need to make sure we look after him."

Cummins (13 not out) pulled leg-spinner Imran Tahir for four through mid-wicket as Australia reached their 310-run victory target in the last session on the fifth and final day.

The teenager had also picked up six for 79 with the ball to help bowl out South Africa for 339 in their second innings.

"Australia, and Pat Cummins in particular, kept coming at us at pace and he got a lot out of the surface," South African skipper Graeme Smith said.

Clarke said he was "proud" of the way his side fought back after being skittled for 47 during their first-Test defeat.

"If you look at the entire tour we drew the Twenty20s, we won the ODI series and we've drawn the Test series against fantastic opposition in their own backyard," he added.

Clarke also hailed the last-day contributions of Ricky Ponting (62), Brad Haddin (55) and Mitchell Johnson (40 not out) - three players who have received some criticism recently.

"You guys have a job to do so you don't owe me or anyone in the team an apology," Clarke told reporters.

"But Ricky, Brad and Mitch really stood up today, they were the guys under pressure and they showed enormous courage."

Smith lamented his team's failure to twice take control of the match with the bat.

The hosts were 241 for four in perfect batting conditions on the first day before being bowled out for 266. They also slumped in their second innings from 237 for three.

"We weren't ruthless enough with the bat and it's difficult to win when you have two collapses like that," he said. "We had the opportunity to take the game away from Australia and we need to take responsibility for not doing that.

"Day four especially was set up quite well for us and if we could have had one or two partnerships that morning ... instead we lost four wickets that session when we needed to put the knife in and take the Test out of their grasp."


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