Cricket-Cummins in race to prove fitness before Adelaide test


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Ashes - Third Test - Australia v England - Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia - December 27, 2021 Australia's Pat Cummins walks of the pitch after losing his wicket during day 2 of the Third Test REUTERS/Loren Elliott

PERTH (Reuters) - Australia captain Pat Cummins says he feels fine after a quad strain prevented him from bowling in the fourth innings of his side's win over the West Indies in the first test, but admits he must prove his fitness before the next test starts on Thursday.

Australia made declarations of 598-4 and 182-2 and bowled the West Indies out for 283 and 333 to record a 164-run triumph on Sunday.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon picked up six wickets in the second innings, shouldering the additional workload with his side's premier fast bowler nursing an injury.

"(It's) just a small strain, normally about a one-weeker. If you bowl it could make it worse and make it longer," Cummins told reporters.

"I don't really want to turn a one week injury into a three or four week injury and potentially miss the summer."

After the second West Indies match concludes, Australia host South Africa for three tests.

Cummins took his 200th test wicket on the way to 3-34 in the West Indies first innings, but spent the first 36 overs of their second off the field as Steve Smith deputised as captain.

He returned late on day four, but limited himself to fielding and looked particularly uncomfortable chasing one ball to the boundary rope.

"I've got to probably prove myself and have at least one bowl", the 29-year-old said about his preparation for the day-night test in Adelaide.

"I'm not too bothered but hopefully I pass the fitness test and I'm good to go.

"We're just working through now whether we bring in a couple of other people, just as cover over the next couple of days."

A likely replacement would be Scott Boland, who has 18 test wickets at an average of 9.55 including an astonishing haul of 6-7 against England in Melbourne last year.

Seamers Lance Morris from Western Australia and Mark Steketee from Queensland, leading the domestic first-class wickets tally, are also potential options.

Meagre attendances plagued the Perth test, which Cricket Australia scheduled to start on a Wednesday, as fatigued fans tuned out after three months of limited-overs matches.

Few were in attendance to see the final wicket fall, especially disappointing given ticket prices were slashed to one dollar for the last day.

"I always like to see bigger crowds but they were great, those who turned out," Cummins said.

(Reporting by Joel Dubber in Perth, editing by Ed Osmond)

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