Swallowing Babar: Pat Cummins ends 35-yr wait with epic 5-wicket-haul hat-trick | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Swallowing Babar Azam: Pat Cummins ends Australia's 35-year-long wait with legendary five-wicket-haul hat-trick

Jan 03, 2024 12:36 PM IST

Pat Cummins is unstoppable as he kicks off the new year for Australia with a third straight five-wicket-haul in Tests.

Pat Cummins' red-hot form makes him unstoppable. After an exhilarating 2023, which saw Australia, under Cummins, retain the Ashes, win the World Test Championship and the World Cup, the captain took off in 2024 from where he had left the previous year. Against Pakistan in the third Test at Sydney, Cummins once again wrecked the Pakistan batting order by claiming a 12th Test five wicket haul. This is his third five-for in a row, one that saw him extend domination against star Pakistan batter Babar Azam, whom he dismissed for a third time in the series.

Australia's Pat Cummins appeals successfully for an LBW against Babar Azam(AP)
Australia's Pat Cummins appeals successfully for an LBW against Babar Azam(AP)

Babar, who endured a pretty average outing in Tests in 2023 with just 204 runs in nine innings at an average of 22.67, began on a positive note, creaming his trademark cover drives with panache. Appearing to be in great nick, Babar reached 26 off 39 balls before he was done in by an in-dipper. Cummins landed the ball on the same spot, which Australia had deciphered to work against Babar – the good length area on the fifth stump. This time too, the ball pitched pretty much in the same area, the only difference being that it kept swinging in. Babar, looking to flick the ball on the leg-side, missed putting bat to ball and got himself in an awkward position and was rapped on the pads.

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Initially adjudged not out by umpire Nigel Long, the DRS revealed that the appeal was closer than anticipated. It pitched in line, impacted in line and would have gone on to hit middle and leg. Babar had also moved slightly across which made the LBW more legit. Cummins, who had gotten Babar out in the second innings of Perth Test and the first innings of the MCG Test, had his number again at the SCG.

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With this, Cummins also achieved a major first for Australia in 35 years. With a hat-trick of five-wicket-hauls, Cummins became the first Australia captain since Allan Border to clinch a five-for at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Cummins jolted Pakistan with consecutive fifers in Melbourne, claiming a match-haul of 10 wickets with 5/48 and 5/49 as Australia completed a convincing 79-run win. He added to his incredible run with 5/61 even as Pakistan's last-wicket pair of Aamer Jamal and Mir Hamza managed to frustrate Australia with a fifty-plus partnership.

Cummins' achievement first in 35 years for Australia

Border's 7/46 against West Indies in the 1989 Test made him the fifth Australian captain to take a five-wicket-haul at the iconic SCG. Before him. George Giffin had done it in 1895, Monty Noble in 1904 and Richie Benaud in 1959. Cummins was all over the Pakistan batting line-up which was rocked as early as the first two overs when Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood sent openers Abdullah Shafique and Saim Ayub packing for ducks.

At 4/2, Pakistan were, to an extent, steadied by Babar and captain Shan Masood, but Cummins' dismissal of Babar opened the floodgates. Agha Salman and Mohammad Rizwan resisted with gritty half-century but it was Cummins, who cut short the former's innings. He added to his tally the wickets of Saud Shakeel, Sajid Khan and Hasan Ali to complete the legendary five-wicket-haul.

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