Aussies salute in pulsating Ashes Test match
After slumping to 8 for 227 in pursuit of a target of 281 with no recognised batter at the crease, an unbroken 55-run stand between Cummins (44 not out) and Nathan Lyon (16 not out) hauled Australia over the line in magnificent fashion at Edgbaston.
Former Australian spinner Bryce McGain has praised Pat Cummins’ side for playing their own way in their famous win in the first Ashes Test.
McGain told Sports Breakfast he was impressed with how the team maintained their composure.
“There was criticism from many of the commentators, at times I really wanted to switch off, I found it that frustrating,” McGain said.
“The runs per over was a little bit more than what we’re used to, but they just had this calm steel and they were really well prepared. That really impressed me.
“Also the batting, Usman Khawaja in particular, he went about it his own way … I think that’s a great lesson not only for the Australian team but for every team.”
McGain was full of praise for Cummins’ and Lyon’s efforts with the ball as well as the bat, with Lyon grabbing eight wickets for the match and Cummins picking up four in the second innings, including a brilliant inswinging yorker to claim Ollie Pope and his opposite number Ben Stokes.
“[Lyon] was probably the difference in the two bowling attacks, a real quality spinner who doesn’t have a bunged-up finger,” he said.
“Cummins was the mainstay. First innings runs and obviously the second innings getting Australia over the line, just superb.
“Faced with all the challenges and different fields, they’re good problem solvers. They were able to work it through and eventually they spread the field, which allowed Australia to keep scoring.
“I think they played into Australia’s hands a little bit late into the game.”
England’s aggressive declaration late on day one despite having centurion Joe Root at the crease has come sharply into focus, but McGain said that was not where the game was lost.
“I’m comfortable with that kind of declaration,” he said.
“We’ve certainly seen it in the Sheffield Shield from time to time, teams will declare like that with the view of moving it forward and getting one or two wickets. Australia obviously denied that with Khawaja and Warner.
“Looking on social media a little while ago, the fans are critical … it’s not something that’s sitting well with the more traditional English cricket followers.”
The next Test kicks off at Lords next Thursday.
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