Aussies wary of pushing spearhead too far
Justin Langer has hinted Pat Cummins may be rested for the final Ashes Test at The Oval following his marathon four-months of cricket in England.
The outstanding right-arm quick is the only one of Australia's six-strong pace attack to have played all four Tests in addition to the Cricket World Cup.
Cummins, who has taken a series high 24 wickets at just over 17, sent down 48 overs during the win at Old Trafford and bowled on days two, three, four and five of the match to help his side to a 185-run victory.
He has also delivered 164 overs - the most of any pace bowler from either side. The last time the 26-year-old experienced such a heavy workload during a series was in the infamous South Africa tour last year and he suffered a back problem that kept him out of action for six months.
The fifth Test starts at The Oval on Thursday night (EST) meaning there is only a four-day turnaround from the win in Manchester, which took until the final hour of day five for Australia to bowl England out.
But Langer admits he and his players are desperate to finish the series with a 3-1 win and knows having Cummins in the side would be a huge boost despite Peter Siddle and James Pattinson waiting in the wings.
"Back-to-back Test matches, physically and emotionally are very taxing," Langer said.
"The last match we thought England might hold on at the end, so a lot of energy goes in to that.
"That's why it becomes nothing to do with the issues of management. You want your best players playing all the time.
"That's where the complexity lies, as much as how we're going to manage them."
Pattinson, who played in the first and third Tests would be the most likely to replace Cummins should he be rested.
However, selectors will be mindful of the fact he didn't bowl well on day four of the fourth Test when Ben Stokes won the game for England. Siddle lacks the pace of Pattinson and Cummins but was miserly with the ball when he played in the first and second Tests.
He also took six wickets in the final Test at The Oval in the 2015 series - a match Australia won by an innings.
"We've got to weigh up who's fresh. We've got a couple of fresh, healthy fast bowlers who are jumping out of their skin to play," Langer said.