Australian captain Pat Cummins only had himself to blame as India mounted an unlikely comeback on day three of the World Test Championship final, with two inexcusable front-foot errors proving costly.
Playing his first professional match in nearly four months, the 30-year-old was plagued by no-balls throughout India’s first innings at The Oval, denying himself two crucial wickets.
On Thursday afternoon, Ajinkya Rahane was on 17 when Cummins trapped him on the pads plumb LBW, with the former Indian vice-captain calling for a desperate review — but replays showed that Cummins had marginally overstepped, gifting Rahane an early reprieve.
The front-foot blunder came back to haunt Cummins the following day when Rahane approached his 13th Test century.
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Tiny overstep costs Cummins dearly | 00:46
Moments before the following morning’s lunch break, the Australian skipper was once again awarded an LBW dismissal when Indian all-rounder Shardul Thakur, on 36 at the time, walked across his crease and missed a leg glance.
In a moment of deja vu, Thakur called for a review only for replays to show Cummins had overstepped, his sixth no-ball of the match.
One mistake is forgivable. Two is downright sloppy.
“You can’t keep doing that, that’s poor cricket,” ABC commentator Jim Maxwell said.
Cummins’ preparation ahead of the World Test Championship final subsequently came under the microscope, with fans sharing a clip of the New South Welshman overstepping in a recent net session.
Rather than organising a warm-up match ahead of the six-Test tour of England, the Australians focused on individual skills in a specialised training camp in Beckenham.
Despite concerns about his discipline, Cummins’ talent can’t be denied. On Thursday afternoon, he removed rival captain Rohit Sharma LBW for 15 with an impeccable wobble-seam delivery that slid past the inside edge.
The right-armer then knocked over Rahane and Umesh Yadav after the lunch break on day three, finishing the innings with 3-83 from 20 overs. However, Cummins’ economy rate of 4.15 was the highest of his Test career (minimum ten overs).