The third Test between Pakistan and Australia starts at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Monday. And after two draws, both teams will be keen on victory.
There have been concerns regarding the nature of wickets in the first two Tests where the bowlers have toiled while batters have made runs for fun. Australian captain Pat Cummins feels the pitch in Lahore won’t be too different. “I think it will be quite similar to the first two games. I don’t think it will be super friendly for the pace bowlers. There might be a little bit of a reverse swing, ” said Cummins during a virtual media interaction on Sunday.
A total of 2,431 runs have been amassed across seven innings for the loss of only 42 wickets during this series. When asked whether such flat wickets are suitable for Test cricket, Cummins said, “It is probably not for me to judge. We are playing on the same wicket as our opposition. It is an even contest between two sides. Ideally, you want to see a win or a loss result. Hopefully, we will get that this week. Wickets have been hard to come by than runs in this series but I think it is probably up to the fans and home teams to try and find that balance.”
Australia, defending 506 in the second Test in Karachi, conceded 443 runs while dismissing only seven Pakistan batters in 172 overs. On the recovery from such an experience, Cummins said, “It was a grind for a couple of days. We have had three-days rest now, very light training, and the priority has just been to make sure that we are fresh for tomorrow and the next five days, which we feel like we are all in a very good place. We’ve done it before. It is a grand final in a Test series and we are all up for it.”
Australia had handed leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson a debut in the same Test in the hope of assisting experienced off-spinner Nathan Lyon but Swepson went wicketless while conceding 156 runs in 53.4 overs in the last innings. Cummins though feels that the numbers don’t tell the whole story. “I thought Mitchell bowled beautifully. His figures were not a fair representation of how well he bowled. He created lots of chances. I was really happy with how he went. He is a real wicket-taking option but at the same time, controls the scoring rate. I thought he did a fantastic job,” said the bowler with 189 Test wickets.
When asked about his own form, Cummins seemed satisfied with the performance and said, “I was really pleased with how I bowled this week. I kind of always wanted to take the pitch out of it and try to have an impact no matter what was happening. It was great to have the ball reversing for a little bit and take some key wickets. I was pleased that I did not have to play just a holding role and I could be an attacking bowler as well.”
After the Pakistan tour, Cummins will join the Kolkata Knight Riders, to be captained by batter Shreyas Iyer, for the upcoming IPL season after being picked for Rs 7.25 crore in the mega-auction. He said, “I’m really excited. It’s been great that most of the squad has been able to be kept together at KKR. So, I know a lot of the players, staff really well. I played with Shreyas at Delhi. He seems like a really calm guy.”
Watch the LIVE coverage of the Australia Tour of Pakistan – 3rd test on SONY SIX & SONY SIX HD channels starting March 21, 2022 at 10:30 am IST