It was a spell which indicates Starc is back bowling at his best and that’s the way Cummins saw things from on field, too.
“[He gave away] no runs, it looks like he’s going to get a front pad or go through the [batsman’s] defence,” Cummins said. “It’s always an asset when he’s in the side.”
Starc is set to go head-to-head with James Pattinson in the race for the final fast bowling slot at The Gabba and Cummins gave his NSW teammate a ringing endorsement on the eve of the first Test squad announcement in Perth.
“For me, he’s bowling as fast as he has and his control has been really impressive,” Cummins said. “That Drummoyne [Oval] game [against Tasmania], if he’s not in the side, every other game is going to be a draw playing on that wicket.
“For him to be there, he showed his class. This wicket again, without him in the side you just don’t get a couple of those reversing wickets.
“I think he’s been brilliant. He’s bowled quite a lot of overs in the last few weeks all around Australia but he’s looking really good to me.”
Starc may have sent a reminder of what he’s capable of to selectors but Cummins showcased why he’s ranked the best Test bowler in world cricket with a devastating spell of his own in the first innings.
Pakistan’s pace bowlers may have sent an ominous warning when they skittled the majority of Australia’s Test hopefuls for 122 in Perth but Cummins was every bit as devastating on an SCG pitch which has provided much more life for spinners.
He claimed 3-31 from 15 overs as NSW rolled WA for 191 in response to the home side’s 8-444.
The manner in which he finished with those figures served a firm reminder why he is ranked the best Test bowler in world cricket.
Cummins’ first wicket was the ball of the match so far.
He claimed Ashton Turner (1) with a delivery which angled towards middle and off at a perfect length before it nipped away from the right-hander, catching the edge on its way through to Peter Nevill.
The ball then started to reverse swing.
That proved perilous for Cameron Green (2), who left a Cummins delivery alone which clipped the top of off-stump.
The star quick peppered the perfect length when Josh Inglis (2) strode to the crease soon after and the WA keeper couldn’t help but fish outside off stump, guiding the ball to Nick Larkin at first slip.
In the blink of an eye, Cummins alone caused the WA collapse. The visitors were 3-117 when Steve O’Keefe claimed D’Arcy Short. They were 6-133 by the time Cummins’ spell was over.
“I guess the good thing was it was only six or seven weeks ago I was playing in The Ashes,” Cummins said. “I don’t feel like I’m trying to re-learn anything. It’s more about just getting back to that rhythm, which came really quickly.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.