Mason Crane admitted his “emotions were everywhere” as he stepped up for his first bowl in Test cricket. But the 20-year-old Hampshire leg-spinner was pleased with the way he settled, and said that on another day he could have claimed his maiden Ashes wicket.
Crane bowled 17 overs in Australia’s first innings of 193-2 at the SCG, taking 0-58 but finding the edge several times amid the odd loose delivery. Most of all, he seemed to relish the challenge. “It’s awesome to be bowling at some of the best players in the world,” he said. “I would have liked a couple more wickets, but that’s the game. There’s not much margin for error. It came out nicely. I’m pretty happy.”
The first over of Crane’s Test career was very much a mixed bag, with a long hop and a leg-side delivery followed by a few right on the money. And it was not until around 10 or 11 balls in, Crane said, that he felt relaxed and settled enough to try out his variations.
“Those first 10 balls, I was just full of excitement,” he said. “My emotions were a bit everywhere. But once I’d calmed down, it’s just focusing on the battle with the batter.”
In particular, Crane enjoyed his battle with Australian captain Steve Smith, who ended the day ominously placed on 44 not out. But Crane insisted that England still had a chance of claiming a first-innings lead if they can pick up the wicket of Smith early on day three.
“He’s played very well, but he’s only human as well,” Crane said. “He’s got out four times this series. He’s playing very well, he’s a key player for them, and I feel like if we can get him out and then take two or three, we can hopefully get a first innings lead.”
Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins said Crane looked “pretty nervous” when he walked in to bat, but was impressed with what he saw with the ball. “He’s probably similar to a lot of young leggies, gives the ball a bit of a rip, landed it pretty well,” he said. “It looks like the wicket’s starting to spin a little bit more than yesterday.
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