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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2019 Test bowling nominees: attack of the killer pacemen

Pat Cummins leads the pack of fast bowlers who dominate the list of Test bowling nominees

Danyal Rasool
Danyal Rasool
Kemar Roach celebrates the dismissal of Jos Buttler, West Indies v England, 1st Test, Barbados, 2nd day, January 24, 2019

Ten years into a stop-start career, Kemar Roach showed he still has what it takes with his five-for in Bridgetown  •  Getty Images

Kemar Roach
5 for 17 v England
first Test, Bridgetown

West Indies had been dismissed for 289, but Roach turned in a ferocious spell of fast bowling that cut England to ribbons and brought him five wickets for four runs in a performance fit to rank among the kind West Indies bowlers seemed to produce at whim three decades ago. England were all out for 77, the lowest Test total Bridgetown has ever seen. Roston Chase took eight wickets in the second innings, but it was Roach's 27-ball burst that routed England by 381 runs.
Pat Cummins
4 for 43 v England
fourth Test, Manchester

England needed to survive seven overs and a day to extend the Ashes series to a fifth Test. They had proved difficult for Australia to put away a game earlier, when at Headingley, Ben Stokes… you know the rest. Enter Cummins, who needed just four balls to tear the spine out of England's resistance: Rory Burns edged to cover off the third, before the perfect fast bowler's delivery knocked back Joe Root's off stump. Cummins would return to dismiss Stokes cheaply, quashing any thoughts of a repeat miracle, and when he dismantled Jason Roy's stumps, the destination of the urn was all but confirmed.
Tim Murtagh
5 for 13 v England
only Test, Lord's

This was only Ireland's third Test, but the notion that they might be in for a whipping flew out of the window on the first morning. Murtagh sent both openers back cheaply on a wicket so green you didn't know where the square ended and the outfield began. It wasn't all just down to the surface, though, and Murtagh continued to torment England in a nine-over spell where he kept up both intensity and pace. Three middle-order batsmen fell to him without adding a run to the score. There were inswingers, outswingers, bowleds, lbws and caught-behinds. The players hadn't yet broken for lunch when, thanks to Murtagh, England had been bowled out for 85.
Josh Hazlewood
5 for 30 v England
third Test, Leeds

Yes, other things happened in this match too. The end of England's first innings was widely decried or celebrated, depending on your persuasion, making clearer, as it did, which way the Ashes were headed. England were rolled for 67, and Hazlewood's metronomic precision was largely responsible. He seamed the ball from off stump with consistency, and to devastating effect. Jason Roy and Joe Root nicked to slip to put England on the back foot - quite literally; poor footwork played a part in Hazlewood's next three wickets. For almost 72 hours, it was considered a match-winning performance, and it was worthy of being one.
Jofra Archer
6 for 62 v Australia
fifth Test, The Oval

The Ashes might have been lost by then, but Archer's performance signalled that in the years ahead Australia will see plenty more of England's most explosive pace bowler in a generation. After England posted 294, Australia were rattled by the early loss of both openers to Archer's pace. Then Marnus Labuschagne was trapped in front just as he looked to be getting himself in. Archer would return to claim three lower-order wickets, even bringing out the knuckleball from his box of tricks. He gave England a 69-run first-innings lead that ensured their record of no home Ashes defeats stretching back to 2001 would not be broken.
Jasprit Bumrah
6 for 27 v West Indies
second Test, Kingston

It isn't India's fast bowlers who have historically made headlines in games between these two teams, but history was turned on its head in a mesmerising session of play on day two, where seven West Indian wickets fell, six of them to Bumrah. Numbers three, four and five would fall in successive balls during Bumrah's fifth over as he became just the third Indian to take a Test hat-trick. The full deliveries were complemented perfectly by the surprise short ball, and Bumrah found plenty of sideways movement both ways. It would prove too good for half a dozen West Indians and would lead to a series-sealing 257-run win for India.
Rashid Khan
6 for 49 v Bangladesh
only Test, Chattogram

Khan could make a lucrative career only playing for the myriad franchises falling over themselves to sign him up. But in just his third Test match, the legspinner showed he was capable of fulfilling a more traditional role too. With less than one full day available to Afghanistan to bowl Bangladesh out, the responsibility fell to their young captain and totem. He started by trapping Mushfiqur Rahim and Mominul Haque in front in successive overs to carve the hosts open; the lower order was no match for Rashid, and even the rain that ominously hung around Chattogram couldn't deny him. The final wicket fell as the drizzle steadied into a shower, but Rashid's fire had held it at bay for just long enough.
Neil Wagner
5 for 44 v England
first Test, Mount Maunganui

In a Test where 19 wickets had fallen in 11 sessions, New Zealand needed ten of England's in four for victory. The pitch hadn't deteriorated much, and injury to Trent Boult had deprived the hosts of their most potent threat. But Wagner wasn't giving up. The short ball under the armpit might have rattled the batsmen most, but his was no one-trick spell. Joe Denly fell to a short ball outside off, Ollie Pope was done by a slower delivery, and a new-ball yorker cleaned up Jos Buttler. It would have done Boult proud. Wagner would go on to clean up the tail summarily, and with eight wickets in the match, he was no longer just the undercard to Boult and Tim Southee.
Pat Cummins
5 for 28 v New Zealand
second Test, Melbourne

It was only fitting that the world's No. 1 fast bowler rounded off the year underlining that status. On an MCG surface where Australia had batted for 155 overs, Pat Cummins showed a turgid strip needn't be a barrier to wicket-taking. His pace was 8-10kph higher than that of New Zealand's bowlers, and he was patient with his line. Tom Blundell succumbed to one at 146kph that darted away, while Kane Williamson was rushed into a pull shot. Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls fell off successive balls, and Tom Latham, who had held out for four hours, was prised out with a nagging fourth-stump line. New Zealand were bowled out for 148, and a 247-run win was soon sealed.
Nathan Lyon
6 for 49 v England
first Test, Birmingham

Day five, ten wickets needed, spinner on hand. For a generation, that situation in an Ashes series meant Shane Warne against England. But Lyon was Australia's man for the job in the first Ashes Test, and he proved equal to the task. There was drift, flight, bounce and turn, and Lyon adeptly exploited them as, one by one, England's batsmen began to disintegrate. Jason Roy was bowled on the charge, while extra spin accounted for Joe Root's inside edge to short leg. Turn and bounce put paid to Ben Stokes, and left-handers Moeen Ali and Broad could do little to stop themselves nicking to slips.
Click here for the Test batting shortlist and here for ESPNcricinfo Awards 2019 home

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000