LONDON: Australia wicket-keeper Peter Nevill was set to retain his Test place after being chosen ahead of Brad Haddin behind the stumps for the tour match with Derbyshire at the County Ground on Friday.
Nevill took seven catches on his international debut and made a quick 45 in his only innings as Australia thrashed England by 405 runs in the second Test at Lord’s last week to level the five-match Ashes series at 1-1.
First-choice gloveman Brad Haddin didn’t play at Lord’s after withdrawing for “family reasons”.
Australia played both keepers against Derbyshire in their last match before the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston starts on Wednesday.
But it was Nevill, Haddin’s deputy at New South Wales, who kept on Friday, with Haddin in the outfield.
Nevill and Australia’s back-up bowlers only had one session in which to impress on Friday’s second day as rain meant there was no play after lunch.
That was time enough for New South Wales paceman Pat Cummins to mark his first bowling stint in first-class cricket after nearly two years out with a wicket during a six-over spell costing 20 runs.
Derbyshire were 81 for two in reply to Australia’s first innings 413 for nine declared — a deficit of 332 runs — when the umpires abandoned play for the day at 3:00pm local time (1400 GMT).
Wayne Madsen, the Derbyshire captain, was 14 not out and Scott Elstone 13 not out.
The 22-year-old Cummins was called up late into the squad after Ryan Harris’s injury-induced retirement on the eve of Australia’s 169-run first Test defeat in Cardiff.
Cummins had been sidelined from first-class cricket with back and foot problems since playing for Australia A against South Africa A in July and August 2013.
But the New South Wales fast bowler, who took seven wickets in his lone Test against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2011, looked lively on Friday.
“It felt good, to get a full session in and two spells,” said Cummins, who ended a composed opening stand of 49 when he had New Zealand’s Hamish Rutherford caught behind by Nevill for 14.
“It was the first game for a while so I was pretty happy with how it went. I was a little bit nervous. The boys were getting into (joking with) me a little bit about forgetting what to do and a few of them were saying ‘this is actually a red ball not a white ball’.”
As for the prospect of a Test recall this trip, Cummins said: “It’s still a long way away.
“Getting over here was really exciting. To have a game, knowing myself that I’m ready in case I get a call up is pretty exciting and make me remember that I want to make that step up into the (Test) side again,” he added.
Derbyshire’s 49 for one become 55 for two when all-rounder Shane Watson, dropped for the second Test in favour of Mitchell Marsh, induced a top edge from Ben Slater (20) which was caught by a back-pedalling Adam Voges at first slip.
However, with Australia resting all their frontline bowlers, no member of the tourists’ attack at Derby was set to play at Edgbaston.
Australia captain Michael Clarke declared before play resumed Friday.
Cummins was 21 not out after openers David Warner and Shaun Marsh had both retired out on 101 on Thursday.
Teenage paceman Will Davis marked his first-class debut by leading Derbyshire’s attack with three for 63 in 15 overs, a haul that saw him have star batsman Clarke caught in the slips for just 16. –