The Test match 24 years in the making
IT'S the homecoming that has been a lifetime in the making and one that Pat Cummins feared may never arrive.
There are overseas grounds that Cummins might have set foot on more often than the SCG, but on Thursday, after years of heartache, the superstar fast bowler will discover for the first time in his career what it's like to play a Test match on his home soil.
Born and raised in Penrith in the city's west, Cummins is a Sydney boy right down to his bootlaces, and of all the 'comeback' matches he's played over the last 10 months, none will mean as much as an Ashes Test at the SCG.
At the start of the summer, the SCG might as well have been Everest, so unsure was Cummins even in his own mind about whether his body was capable of getting through five consecutive Test matches.
But after going nearly six years without playing a Test after his famous debut in South Africa back in 2011, Cummins' finally appears to have put his injury woes behind him.
Aside from four one-day matches and a couple of Sheffield Shield games for NSW, Cummins has scarcely been able to charge in at the SCG.
On Thursday the 24-year-old says he's ready to fulfil a boyhood dream and won't be denied.
"It's really exciting. I think at the start of the summer, thinking of the Ashes, the SCG felt a long way away," admits Cummins.
"But it's gone pretty quickly and now we're here.
"I'm pretty pumped. I've got a lot of family and friends coming out for the game.
"It's our home ground where we train all the time. I haven't played too many games here but it's pretty special whenever we get out here.
"I've been here as a kid watching in the stands so to be out here playing in an Ashes will be pretty special.
"… The body's 100 per cent so hopefully I'll get a game."
Cummins has taken 15 wickets this summer, but the statistics don't do him justice - as many of his poles have come at critical times for Australia.
On debut, Cummins proved he was a big game and big moment cricketer, and despite the years of injury dramas, that trait hasn't changed.
Australia lead the series 3-0 despite England getting a look in every match so far.
Cummins doesn't consider himself the spearhead, but believes the attack has earned the precious result that's been achieved.
"I think 3-0 is a pretty fair reflection. I'd say the matches have probably been a little bit closer than what each game has shown," said Cummins.
"I think each match there has been a couple of sessions where either we've clawed back in or they've clawed back in.
"The big thing for us is we've been able to win those couple of key moments and hold the pressure off when they've had a couple of big partnerships or run through us with a couple of wickets."