'Didn't need to': Pat Cummins under scrutiny after Ashes draw

Pat Cummins, pictured here after Australia's draw with England in the fourth Ashes Test.
Pat Cummins looks on after Australia's draw with England in the fourth Ashes Test. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images) (Cricket Australia via Getty Imag)

Pat Cummins has faced questions over the timing of his declaration in the fourth Ashes Test after England held on for a thrilling draw at the SCG on Sunday.

Cummins set England a target of 388 after declaring late on day four at the SCG, however the Aussie bowlers fell one wicket short of completing an extraordinary victory.

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Some felt that Cummins should have declared earlier to give his chargers a greater chance of bowling out the tourists, particularly considering the wet weather that was forecast.

England reached 9-270 after surviving 102 overs, with No.11 Jimmy Anderson navigating an over of Steve Smith's leg-spin in fading light before the nail-biting contest ended at 6.50pm AEDT.

The result ends Cummins' hopes of captaining what would have been just the fourth 5-0 Ashes sweep in the storied 145-year history of Test cricket.

“I think he’ll be thinking about that declaration yesterday,” Mark Waugh said in commentary for Fox Sports.

“He’ll be thinking, ‘Hmm, I think I went a bit long, I better win this game for us now otherwise I’ll be looking back thinking why did I keep batting?’

“I think they batted too long. They did not need to bat as long as they did.

“340 was plenty and if they wanted to get to 380-400 they should have got there quicker. There was rain forecast, there were a lot of things that said you don’t need to get to 400.”

Shane Warne said Cummins would have a sleepless night thinking about the declaration, but pointed out that Australia missed some key chances to win the game.

“First of all he’s going to learn a lot today,” Warne said. “He probably won’t sleep tonight, he’ll be thinking about all the things he could have done, all the options he had.

“Let’s not forget, there were seven overs of rain, a missed run out, dropped catches and if Australia had've held their catches and got the run out — Jonny Bairstow I think was first or second ball — and they got the seven overs of rain they might have actually been able to get it done a lot earlier in the day.

“Look, whenever it gets to nine wickets down everyone’s going to say you should have declared earlier. That’s always going to happen, that’s just the way it is, that’s just the way the game goes.”

Pat Cummins, pictured here shaking hands with umpire Paul Reiffel after the fourth Ashes Test.
Pat Cummins shakes hands with Paul Reiffel after the fourth Ashes Test. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images) (Cricket Australia via Getty Imag)

Pat Cummins defends declaration in fourth Ashes Test

Cummins defended his tactics after the match on Sunday.

"I don't think we needed to hand it to them on a platter, but for sure we were willing to risk England winning," Cummins said.

"Around three and a half runs per over was similar to ... the game was ticking along around about that rate.

"I thought 100-110 overs at that rate, still gave them a little bit of a cherry if a couple of batters got in.

"The wicket was still not playing too many tricks. I thought if they batted really well, 350 is pretty achievable. I wanted to give us enough time."

The skipper even donned a helmet as Australia crowded the bat in Nathan Lyon's final few overs, knowing his every move, bowling change and rejigged field would be heavily scrutinised.

"I certainly learned a lot ... made quite a few calls - some came off, some didn't," Cummins said.

"Even from the second innings compared to the first, I felt a lot calmer and in control ... take that extra second, that breath at the top of the mark.

"Probably the hardest thing to do is to try and choose among our five bowlers, plus Smithy and Marnus (Labuschagne)."

with AAP

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