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Hazlewood backs Cartwright for No.6

NSW quick runs through WA top order, then backs one of his victims to claim the middle order vacancy for Australia

He dented Hilton Cartwright's Ashes hopes on a wet weekend in Sydney, but Josh Hazlewood reckons the allrounder still deserves to be Australia's first-choice Test No.6.

The answer for one of the two glaring vacancies in the Australian Test line-up is still no closer to being revealed, with none of the major candidates yet to pass 100 in the opening two rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield.

Day two highlights: NSW v Western Australia

Hazlewood, returning to action from a side strain, wreaked havoc for the selectors on Sunday when he went through Western Australia's top two hopes in less than 10 minutes, as part of a new-ball spell of 3-3 from six overs.

After Shaun Marsh was caught behind driving for two, Cartwright went for a duck when Hazlewood trapped him lbw to a ball that jagged back in.

Cartwright removes Smith in Shield

The 25-year-old West Australian debuted in last summer's Sydney Test, and was called back into the side for Australia's last five-day outing against Bangladesh in September.

And Hazlewood believed he deserved to be the favourite to retain his position.

Cartwright pushes Ashes case with half-century

"His first-class numbers are pretty good. Really good actually," Hazlewood said.

"He has obviously done the work for the last few years in Shield cricket and probably deserves his chance if he gets it."

Cartwright on the spot 'everyone's talking about'

After he topped the averages in the 2015-16 Shield season, Cartwright again went at above 50 last year to establish himself as one of the most consistent players in Australia's domestic system.

Usman Khawaja is expected to come back into the team, meaning there will only be room for either Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell or another replacement come November 23.

Maxwell pushed his case with a 60 against South Australia on Sunday but admitted he had "no idea" if he be selected in the first Test.

It came after Daniel Hughes, Nic Maddinson and Kurtis Patterson all failed to pass 50 for NSW on Saturday, despite making starts in front of national T20 selector Mark Waugh.

Outsider Travis Head scored 67 at the MCG for the Redbacks on Saturday, while the only centurions from the second round have been South Australia's Jake Lehmann and Victoria's Marcus Harris – neither of whom are expected to be in serious Ashes contention.

Maxwell finds touch before strange wicket