Australia quick Pat Cummins, the No.1 bowler on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings, reflected on the 2018-19 home series against India, which the hosts lost 2-1.
Cummins performed reasonably well during that four-match series, picking up 14 wickets at 27.78, but wasn't able to do much as India piled on scores of 443/7 declared and 622/7 declared at Melbourne and Sydney respectively en route to a maiden series win in Australia.
But Cummins feels he's become a better bowler for the experience, having learnt some key lessons during the series. "There were a few lessons; the first lesson I learnt was how brutal Test cricket is," Cummins told cricket.com.au. "They might bat all of day one and there's nothing that'll stop them batting all day two unless we take wickets, which they did a few times," Cummins said. They showed us what you have to be, what level you have to be at, to be the best team in the world."
While Cummins was the leading wicket-taker among Australia's fast bowlers in that series, he wasn't able to have quite the impact he would have liked. He feels he has become a better bowler since then, which will hold him in good stead with India scheduled to tour again later this year.
"I think each Test I play, I learn a little bit about my own bowling," he said. "I've probably played 10 or 15 Tests since that series and I feel like with each series I get a little bit better."
Cummins knows he will have to bring all that additional experience into play if he's to get the better of Cheteshwar Pujara this time around. The batsmen, with his stubborn defence and steady scoring, became the foundation of India's success last time around, scoring 521 runs at an average of 74.42, including three centuries.
How important is Cheteshwar Pujara to India's Test team? pic.twitter.com/BjcLOBh9DC— ICC (@ICC) May 24, 2020
Pujara specialises in an attritional, patient approach. Cummins feels Australia will have to try and beat him at his own game. "He had a mammoth series for them (in 2018-19)," Cummins said.
"He's one of those players that'll take his time, he's in his own little bubble and he doesn't get disturbed by too much. We've got to find a way to outlast him if he bats the way he did last time. There wasn't too much in the pitch so you couldn't manufacture anything. So I think (we need to) take our medicine a bit more and try and outlast him."
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