Pat Cummins delivers in an epic return. Source:AP
Pat Cummins delivers in an epic return. Source:AP

Cummins stand up and stands tall in Test return

PAT Cummins was exposed to a lot more hard yakka than Cricket Australia's high performance staff had hoped, but his body is keeping up with the skill.

The 23-year-old sensation showed what a force of nature he is with ball in hand as he cut Indian stars Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane down at the knees on a batting paradise.

It's surprised no one Cummins has seamlessly assumed the game-breaking role of Mitchell Starc, but there's another side of the equation that will have the Australians feeling at least a little nervous.

Part of the justification for pulling Cummins out of the Sheffield Shield after one game and parachuting him into the middle of a Test series was an expectation his workload would be manageable.

In Pune, the quicks barely raised a sweat and in Bangalore the Test was over inside four days.

It hasn't quite panned out that way on a Ranchi pitch that has exceeded all expectations and Cummins has been forced to keep going back to the well, with the knowledge he'll have to roll his sleeves up again today.

Cummins is adamant he's never been fitter to play a Test and the 22 overs he'd bowled heading into the final hour of day three would be putting that theory to the ultimate test.

If the right-arm destroyer can come through Ranchi unscathed, it will set Cummins up for the career he's always been destined to have.

In the skill and speed department Cummins has lost absolutely nothing since his only Test, six years and umpteen injuries ago.

Cummins took the new ball and blasted through enemy No.1 Kohli with all the velocity and strike of Starc - giving Australia a major boost.

"I avoid him in the nets along with Starc," said Glenn Maxwell. "I try not to face them.

"I'm not surprised he was able to get that (pace and bounce) out there. He's awkward. He's got a high release and he's able to hit a length where he reacts differently.

"He's a guy who can get that variable bounce with the way he digs the ball into the wicket. That extra pace is hard to adjust to when it is doing something different height wise off the wicket.

"He just brings that little bit of life, almost a little bit like what Starcy was doing for us. Just that little fast burst of pace and a couple of short balls - and all of a sudden it can change the game."

News Corp Australia

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