Pat Cummins shakes off red-ball rust

Pat Cummins shook off the red-ball rust in Derby and feels ready to step up if required during the Ashes.

Cummins, returning to first-class cricket for the first time in almost two years, snared the scalp of Derbyshire opener Hamish Rutherford on Friday.

The 22-year-old finished with figures of 1-20 from six overs on day two of the tour match, with no play possible after lunch due to heavy rain.

Australia will name an unchanged pace attack on Wednesday, when they seek to take a 2-1 lead in the five-Test series against England.

However, Cummins would come into contention alongside Peter Siddle if any of the incumbent pacemen suffer an injury over the next four weeks.

“To have a game, to know myself that I’m ready in case I get a call-up is pretty good and pretty exciting,” Cummins said.

“I got a full session in. Two spells.

“It felt like it was coming out at a decent click.

“It just makes me remember how much I want to make that step up into the side again.”

National selectors would like Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to play all five Tests.

A three-day break between the third and fourth Tests could stop it from happening – depending on how much they bowl at Edgbaston next week.

“An unchanged attack (for the whole series) would mean we’re flying. We’re winning games and bowling teams out quickly,” Cricket Australia’s chief of sports science and sports medicine Alex Kountouris told AAP prior to the series.

“Theoretically it’s possible … but it doesn’t happen very often.”

Cummins has been the forgotten man of Australia’s young pace battery for much of the past three years due to injury.

He burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old, guiding Australia to a series-levelling Test victory against South Africa in 2001.

Since that man-of-the-match display in Johannesburg, Cummins has suffered a series of serious back and foot injuries.

The right-armer was a part of Australia’s World Cup campaign, but hasn’t played a first-class fixture since turning out for Australia A in 2013.

“I was a little bit nervous,” he said.

“The boys were getting into me a little bit … a few people were pointing out the red ball – saying this is actually red, not white.

“It actually surprised me a little bit, how long it’s been. Because I feel like I’ve been playing a lot of cricket and bowling a lot.”

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