‘Machine’ Cummins’ heavy lifting breaks Poms
EVEN Pat Cummins' Australian teammates are in awe of the man they call a bowling "machine", and who shows no signs of stopping an Ashes effort that could span all five Tests.
Josh Hazlewood took three wickets in the evening session at Old Trafford to shatter England's best partnership of the series, but it was the uplifting work of Cummins that provided the first cracks.
The No.1 Test bowler in the world bowled 10 overs in a row either side of tea - three before and seven after - the longest spell of his career, which had both Joe Root and Rory Burns struggling to survive.
They had batted for nearly the entire opening session of the day, mostly untroubled, threatening to turn the game on its head before Cummins came on.
Despite entering the match with fears for his fitness after a mountain of work through the World Cup, and the three previous Ashes Tests, Cummins showed a want to go again and again, inspiring his bowling teammates to lift with him.
"He's a machine, really,' said Hazlewood, who conceded his own 3-17 late in the day was aided in a big way by Cummins' withering spell.
"Patty rarely bowls a bad spell, to be honest. He was fantastic there in the evening session.
"He could have had a catch that went between the keeper and first slip, and is always at the batsmen.
"He just gets better every time he bowls.
"He had all that bad with injury through his teens, early 20s and then he's come out the other side.
"He's always been a great athlete.
"I guess it was just a matter of time before that body hardened up and his bones hardened up."
Cummins, his team's leading wicket-taker in the series with 18, was even preparing for another bowl before bad light forced the players from the field.
He had already served up 16 overs of effort bowling that was hard for England's batsmen to handle.
He should have had Root out, only for an edge to fly between captain Tim Paine and David Warner at first slip.
Cummins hit Root's knee too, after which the England captain needed 10 minutes of treatment.
With 15 more wickets to get to win at Manchester, and only a three-day turnaround before the final Test at The Oval, some may wonder whether Cummins, with 133 overs already bowled in the series, could go again.
But no one in the Australian camp would doubt him.
"As a power and strength athlete, he's fantastic and he's got great endurance as well. He's pretty much the all-round package." Hazlewood said.
"He's such a great athlete and I just hope it continues for him."
Live stream the India v South Africa T20 Series with KAYO SPORTS on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14-day free trial >