Cummins stars, Aussies take 115-run lead

Rob Forsaith |

Australia have claimed a first-innings lead of 115 runs in Hobart, with Pat Cummins claiming the wicket of opposing captain Joe Root to help seize control of the fifth Ashes Test.

Cummins, denied an SCG victory that would have kept alive his hopes of a whitewash, led from the front as Australia bowled England out for 188 to boost their bid for a 4-0 series win.

The skipper, who snared 4-45, removed Root and Dawid Malan in quick succession during a collapse of 3-7 that also featured the key scalp of Ben Stokes.

The hosts wrapped up England’s innings in 47.4 overs despite being far from clinical.

No.8 Chris Woakes top-scored with 36 after being dropped on zero and five, with his first-ball reprieve coming when David Warner grassed a regulation chance at first slip.

Cummins failed to review two caught-behind shouts, with replays indicating they represented missed chances to dismiss Malan and Rory Burns.

But such was Australia’s dominance, and their bowler’s capacity to create pressure despite the shine wearing off the pink ball, that neither moment prove costly.

Cummins showed yet again he can learn on the run, reviewing a caught-behind appeal off the bolwing of Mitchell Starc (3-53) to capture the wicket of Woakes despite limited interest from wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

Root and Malan batted resolutely in their 49-run stand after being asked to rebuild for the umpteenth time this summer, only for the latter to throw his wicket away via a leg-side catch for Carey.

Cummins’ lbw dismissal of Root, whose 34 proved England’s second-best score, is likely to feature on the superstar quick’s end-of-summer highlight reel.

The delivery seamed in and pinned Root deep in the crease.

Cummins celebrated with gusto, punching the air, while Root shook his head and trudged off in scenes reflective of the manner in which Australia eased to an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.

Burns was needlessly run out for a duck by Marnus Labuschagne’s direct hit, while fellow opener Zak Crawley was undone on 18 when Travis Head’s juggled short-leg catch handed Cummins his first wicket.

Stokes managed one boundary, finding a gap between leg slip and Carey, before falling victim to a sensational catch from Nathan Lyon at point.

Lyon failed to bowl a single over but his free-wheeling knock of 31 lifted Australia to a first-innings total of 303 in Saturday’s opening session.

Lyon hoisted three bouncers from express paceman Mark Wood over the leg-side fence, including one thunderous blow that sent the pink ball whizzing out of the ground.

Lyon and Boland’s final-wicket stand of 23 boosted Australia’s score past 300, notably higher than what England have managed in any of their nine innings on the tour.