Lotus365 Lotus365 News Australia captain Pat Cummins on retaining Ashes in Manchester after poor performance: ‘Work to do for next week’

Australia captain Pat Cummins on retaining Ashes in Manchester after poor performance: ‘Work to do for next week’

Australia captain Pat Cummins on retaining Ashes in Manchester after poor performance: ‘Work to do for next week’ post thumbnail image

There won’t be any big celebrations from Australia on retaining the Ashes with Pat Cummins ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/pat-cummins-489889) aware the Manchester rain helped them escape with a draw after being dominated by England.

Cummins was part of the side in 2019 when they eventually shared the series 2-2 having also retained the urn at Old Trafford, albeit with a convincing victory on that occasion ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/icc-world-test-championship-2019-2021-1195334/england-vs-australia-4th-test-1152849/full-scorecard), and those who featured that year have often spoken about it leaving unfinished business.

There was a flatness all-round at the end of this game with England knowing their chance of regaining the Ashes had gone while the visitors were aware they’d put in one of their worst performances under the Cummins-Andrew McDonald era. However, Cummins did make reference to their earlier success in the series which put them 2-0 up.

“It’s a bit of a strange one,” Cummins said. “As a group [we’re] proud that we’ve retained the Ashes but it’s off the back of not our greatest week. It feels like it’s good to retain the Ashes, but we know we’ve got a fair bit of work to do for next week [and] a few improvements to make.

“I don’t think there will be huge celebrations. Maybe a bit of a pat on the back for retaining the [Ashes]. There’s been a lot of work gone into putting us into a position where a draw does make us retain the Ashes. But there’s a Test match starting in three days so that’s going to be our full focus.”

Barring Marnus Labuschagne ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/marnus-labuschagne-787987), who had an excellent Test with scores of 51 and 111, there wasn’t a part of Australia’s performance that functioned close to their top level. But one of the main areas that came in for focus was Cummins’ captaincy during England’s rampaging innings of 592 which came at more than five an over.

Cummins insisted he had not felt overwhelmed as a captain and instead turned the focus on his own bowling which fell significantly below his usual high standards.

“As a bowler it’s frustrating that I didn’t bowl very well at all, not up to the standards I try and keep myself to,” he said. “I let through more boundaries than I normally do. Probably just one or two bad balls an over. I don’t know [why] really. [My] rhythm felt pretty good, I felt like I was pretty clear in my own mind with plans.

“In terms of captaincy I think there has been a few of those moments where the [England] batters have played well, the game moves very quickly.

“We knew coming into this series they were probably going to have a couple of days where it went their way and the game moves really quickly, so it was one of those days. It’s tough, frustrating, but that’s cricket. We’ve been on the other side of it plenty of times.”

The game most dramatically ran away from Australia in the middle session of the second day ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/pat-cummins-toughest-day-australia-captain-england-bazball-1388616) where Zak Crawley, Moeen Ali and Joe Root racked up 178 in 25 overs with the visitors unable to find a response. The innings then ended in chaotic fashion as well with Jonny Bairstow and Jimmy Anderson added 66 for the last wicket.

“That two-hour block in the middle session wasn’t our best,” Cummins said. “We tried to throw a few different plans at them and maybe on another day they work, a couple of the edges carry through or some of the catches go to hand, but I thought they batted well. I was pretty proud of the end of that day. We were able to wrestle back some of that control.

“You definitely look at what you can try and do differently for next time,” he added. “That will be part of this week for sure. I think there are some obvious things we could do a little bit differently. Maybe some plans, the way we executed our bowling.”

However, Cummins picked out Australia’s first innings when they left themselves on the back foot with a total of 317 where numerous starts from the top order weren’t converted as five of the top six reached 32.

“We probably left a few runs out there in the first innings,” he said. “That was a really good wicket to bat on day one. But historically we have been really good [at] that so it’s not something I’m super worried about, but it’s a good time to look back at all our games and have a think about what we could do differently and put that into action for next week.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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