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Pat Cummins' seven-year first as Aussie move backfires brutally in SCG cricket Test

The Aussie captain made some impressive history before his tactics were widely criticised around the cricket world.

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in the SCG Test.
Pat Cummins claimed another five-wicket haul but his tactics caused controversy. Image: Getty

Pat Cummins has become the first Australian since Nathan Lyon in 2017 to claim three-consecutive five-wicket hauls. However the Aussie captain has come under fire for his tactics late on the first day of the SCG Test against Pakistan.

Cummins claimed 5-57 on Wednesday as Australia bowled Pakistan out for 313 - his third five-wicket haul in a row. However the Aussies leaked way too many runs at the back end of the innings, with an 86-run 10th-wicket partnership putting Pakistan back in the match.

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Cummins and the Aussies had success after using the short ball regularly on Wednesday, but it backfired in a big way as No.9 batter Aamir Jamal blasted 82 off 97 balls. Australia had Pakistan at 9-227, but Jamal helped get his side past 300 and in with a fighting chance.

The Aussies appeared to persist with the short stuff for far too long, with Jamal taking full advantage. "Look at that partnership ... that's going to hurt Australia, it must be hurting them now," Pakistan legend Wasim Akram said on Fox Cricket.

Kerry O'Keeffe added: "I think Australia will look at their tactics when he came out to the crease and think we may have got this a little wrong. This wasn't scripted."

But Mitch Marsh defended the tactics, saying: "You've always got to back in what you're doing, certainly when you're bowling to a tail-ender. He could easily hit one of those straight up and we weren't necessarily waiting for that to happen but I honestly think he batted unbelievably well. We saw a potential weakness to the short ball last game, the ball got old, slower wicket and he played exceptionally well. It was hard work."

It sparked memories of similar scenes in the Headingley Test during last year's Ashes series, when Australia's tactics again came under fire after they opted for a short-ball approach with fielders back. Cummins has since admitted he would have changed the approach in that match if he had his time over, while his team stopped going short to Mark Wood in the last two Tests.

Aamir Jamal, pictured here in the third Test between Australia and Pakistan.
Aamir Jamal took advantage of Australia's short-ball approach. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Aamir said he knew the short balls were coming and decided to take them on after being hit by Mitchell Starc. Two sixes were hit off Josh Hazlewood at a time where Australia had men set back for the tactic.

"The discussion in our camp has been that as soon as our batters from No.7 and 8 onward walk out to bat, they start targeting us with bouncers," Aamir said. "I had told the guys in the dressing-room that whatever they do and however often I get hit or wherever I get hit, I will go out and take on the bouncer today."

Pat Cummins leaves cricket world in awe with seven-year first

Despite the questionable tactics, Cummins once again showed up with the ball. His wickets included Pakistan star Babar Azam, and the well-set Mohammad Rizwan.

Rizwan was motoring towards a century before Cummins brought himself back into the attack just before tea and had the right-hander top-edging a bouncer to fine leg. The dismissal broke a 94-run stand between Rizwan and Agha Salman (53) and sparked a collapse of 4-37 for the tourists.

Pat Cummins.
Pat Cummins took his third five-wicket haul in a row. (Photo by Jason McCawley - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images) (Cricket Australia via Getty Imag)

Cummins took another two wickets during that time, snaring his 18th wicket of the series at an average of 11.33. He became the first Australian since Lyon in 2017 to take three successive five-wicket hauls. The last time an Australian took four on the trot was back in 2004 when Shane Warne achieved the feat.

“I don’t think he is ever going to surpass Sir Don (Bradman), but I think Pat Cummins is going to be Australia’s greatest cricketer after Sir Don," Michael Vaughan said in commentary. "I honestly think he is that good. His bowling. His captaincy. His numbers. He has five to seven years left to play. I honestly think he is that good that we will be talking about him in a few years as being just behind Sir Don Bradman as the greatest Australian cricketer.”

with AAP

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