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'Will put everything into next week' - Pat Cummins confident Australia's bowlers can go again

After 172 overs in the field in Karachi, recovery will be vital ahead of the deciding Test

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
17-Mar-2022
Pat Cummins is confident Australia's bowlers can recharge in time for the final Test against Pakistan in Lahore after the disappointment of not being able to force victory from a hugely dominant position in Karachi.
The deciding match of the series starts on March 21, giving the players an extra day of recovery, with the series locked at 0-0 following Pakistan's remarkable rearguard led by Babar Azam. Australia sent down 172 overs in the second innings, of which spinners Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson bowled 108, but in the immediate aftermath of the back-breaking efforts, Cummins did not see cause for concern.
"Had a walkaround and everyone is fine, there's no big injury concerns," he said. "We knew it was a 15-day tour, basically back-to-back, think that's why we protected ourselves on the last day of the last Test [in Rawalpindi]. We know what we've signed up for, so will put everything into the next week. We've got four days, so one extra than what we had before this Test to recover."
The brevity of Pakistan's first innings and the volume of work for the spinners in the second meant Australia's quicks did not bowl themselves into the ground. Cummins sent down the most with 39 overs, including a magnificent seven-over spell on the final day, which removed Abdullah Shafique and Fawad Alam, followed by Mitchell Starc's 34 and then Cameron Green's 23.
Australia have plenty of bowling reserves in their squad, with Josh Hazlewood, who played the opening match in Rawalpindi, and Scott Boland, who has a Test average of 9.55, vying for a spot if a change is required. The uncapped Mark Steketee is also part of the squad. Ashton Agar is the other spinner available.
"We've got a full contingent if we need to call on anyone," Cummins said. "The quick bowlers, Starcy and I and Greeny, all bowled between 20 and 35 overs or something like that, so not a huge workload. [It's] probably the spinners, make sure they are looked after."
Debutant Swepson bowled 53.4 wicketless overs in the second innings but had four chances of varying difficulty missed off his bowling. "I thought Swepo bowled fantastically today," Cummins said. "I don't know how he's ended up with those figures. The way he was able to be a real wicket-taking option on a really good wicket without really footmarks to the right-handers I was just really impressed with how he went about it."
There will be an element of the unknown about the pitch in Lahore, with the soon-to-be-renamed Gaddafi Stadium hosting its first Test since 2009. In five first-class matches played at the ground last year, pace bowlers have averaged 49.16 and spinners 56.00.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo