Pat Cummins has created his own slice of cricket history having taken another four wickets against the West Indies in the first innings in Adelaide on Wednesday. While it was fellow quick Josh Hazlewood's day having taken 4-44, Cummins has enjoyed a stunning summer with the ball and his decision to bowl first - just the 10th captain in 82 Tests at Adelaide Oval to do so after winning the toss - was the right choice.
He backed it up with a haul of 4-41 before a crowd of 26,361 spectators. Cummins took three five-wicket hauls across Sydney and Melbourne this summer and his four wickets against the West Indies in the first innings has seen him create a stunning slice of history.
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His 23 wickets at 11.69 is the lowest bowling average for an Australian home summer since Bert Ironmonger in 1931/32. He will have a chance to lead the rankings as the bowler with the best ever figures in an Australian summer if he continues his form. In taking the four wickets he also surpassed West Indies great Joel Garner and Aussie bowler Jason Gillespie in the all-time Test wicket standings.
Meanwhile, Hazlewood's first wicket at the Adelaide Oval helped make history for the Aussie team with Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc the first bowling quartet in history to all record 250-plus wickets in a team. Hazlewood was the key bowler on Wednesday with stunning figures of 4-44 having ripped through the top order.
And his first wicket welcomed him to the 250-wicket club for Australia. Incredibly, it also marks the first time any Test team in history have played bowlers who have all taken 250-plus wickets in the starting XI.
Only Cummins, Dennis Lillee, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Craig McDermott have achieved the feat faster for Australia. Hazlewood has played the metronome role in the Aussie quartet for years and joked it was about time he joined the other three in the illustrious club.
“Someone’s got to bring up the rear I guess,” Hazlewood said after player. “The number doesn’t mean much to me to be honest. I never really look at milestones that often, it’s about doing my role for the team each time I play and trying to keep my best and worst spells really close together.
“I know it sounds cliche but that’s my role for the team, to keep it dry and to pick up the odd wicket and let other boys attack.” Fans were in awe of the Aussie quartet this summer with the World No.1 team once again shining.
Starc-Cummins-Lyon-Hazlewood become the FIRST ever Test quartet with all of them having 250+ wickets.
NO OTHER bowling quartet has even 200+ wickets together for same team in the same match.#AUSvWI pic.twitter.com/5h52mkxrxW
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) January 17, 2024
— paRaY_YasiR ✍️ (@ParayYasir2) January 17, 2024
Steve Smith struggles in opening role
For the first time in his illustrious career, Steve Smith opened the batting having taken over from David Warner after his retirement earlier this month. Smith has been keen for the new challenge and the opportunity to carve out more history at Test level, but his much-hyped shift came crashing down at the hands of debutant Shamar Joseph.
Smith was on 12 runs when the fast bowler took the ball after the opening spell. And Joseph delivered with his very first ball. Smith chased the offside delivery and the extra bit of speed prompted him to edge it to second slip. The West Indies erupted with joy for Joseph having taken a dream debut wicket of one of this generation's best batters. "That will go down in the record books for that young man," Brendon Julian said in Fox Sports commentary. Ian Bishop described the wicket as a 'fairytale' for the young bowler.
Smith's average has now fallen below 58 for the first time since 2016. Smith deserves plenty of time and respect for his decision to move up the order to allow Cameron Green to slot back into the starting XI at No.4.
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