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Ashes 2019 | Team Has All Bases Covered for Seamer Friendly Lord’s: Hazlewood

Cricketnext Staff |August 9, 2019, 11:15 AM IST
Ashes 2019 | Team Has All Bases Covered for Seamer Friendly Lord’s: Hazlewood

Australia seam bowler Josh Hazlewood believes that the pitch for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s is likely to provide more assistance to the pace bowlers, which could end up playing into the hands of the visitors.

England were left searching for answers in the first Test as Edgbaston as Steve Smith’s twin tons and an all-round effort by the bowling unit resulted in a 251-run loss. Apart from the loss, James Anderson was sidelined after bowling just four overs on the opening day and has been ruled out of the second Test with a calf injury.

While there is a high possibility that England might prepare a swing and seam friendly wicket to get back into the series, Hazlewood feels Australia’s bench strength and the absence of the hosts’ spearhead could tip the scales in favour of his side.

"I think there'll be a little bit more in it (at Lord's), but in saying that, probably their best exponent Jimmy's not going to play. So that might weigh up different options, but I think there'll be more in it, maybe just to try to get Smithy out. But him batting on those sort of tracks is very hard work. I think it suits us as much as them if there is more in the wicket, so we'll weigh it up.

"If it's a dry wicket where reverse swing might come into play, or it's a very flat, then someone like Mitch Starc can come into play. If it's nice and green and seaming around, then it's myself and Sidds. I think they (the selectors) have definitely gone a different way to 2015 and I think that's purely because of how tight the Tests are (scheduled).

"That's why we've got six (quicks) here and any one can do a job on any given day. We've got three guys with proper air speed and three guys who seam and swing a little bit. I think that's what they (selectors) have got six quicks for, to have all bases covered. And I guess it's just who's bowling best at that particular time leading into the Test, and who gets the nod. I think every quick really feels the pressure of the other five and vice versa, and it is great competition to have in the squad."

Australia surprisingly left out Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood from the first Test, leaving Pat Cummins to lead the pace attack with James Pattinson and Peter Siddle. The trio performed exceptionally well on the deteriorating wicket, picking up 11 wickets as Nathan Lyon took care of the remainder.

The visitors tested out their bench strength in the practice game and the senior pair of him and Starc, along with Michael Neser, accounted for seven wickets between them in Worcestershire’s 201 for 9 decl after Australia posted 266 for 5 decl.

"Sidds has obviously been playing a lot of cricket and I think the other guys picked themselves. Jimmy (Pattinson) has been bowling fantastic for Nottinghamshire and on the Australia A tour and in Southampton as well bowled incredibly. So it's pretty stiff competition at the moment, and we've got Mitch Starc and Michael Neser as well.

“It's a great group of guys, we all want everyone else to do really well as a group, and try and win the Ashes as a group of six not just us and them playing."

Speaking of the Lord’s Test, which starts on Wednesday (August 14), Hazlewood conveyed that he is comfortable with the slope at the ground and would love to have a go as his side look to double their lead.

"I've just played the one Test there, but I thought I got used to the slope pretty quickly and felt pretty comfortable there. The conditions there have been quite bowler-friendly the last few Test matches, so I'd love another opportunity. I was quite young, and quite inexperienced at that level when I first played a Test match and it probably passed me by pretty quickly. But just playing at Lord's in an Ashes Test, it doesn't really get much better so I'm looking forward to it."

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