Quicks second fiddle for Bangladesh: Hazlewood | cricket.com.au

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Quicks second fiddle for Bangladesh: Hazlewood

Spearhead says Australia's seamers must be prepared to hold up an end for spinners on upcoming subcontinent tour

Australia's bowling group will adopt a philosophy in direct contrast to what works for them on home soil as they look to conquer the spin-friendly conditions of Bangladesh, says paceman Josh Hazlewood. 

Hazlewood takes on the mantle of spearhead in the absence of regular new-ball partner Mitchell Starc, who continues to recover from a foot injury and will miss the two-Test series beginning August 24. 

But in Asia, where Australia have won just two of 22 Tests in the past decade, the New South Wales quick says that role will be largely in name only, with the tourists' spin attack expected to provide the aggression when it comes to taking wickets.

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"In Australia, the quicks attack and the spinners defend most of the time," said Hazlewood from Marrara Oval in Darwin, where an extended Australia squad will play a three-day intra-squad match beginning on Monday as they fine-tune their preparation for the Bangladesh series. 

"I think that's in reverse in the subcontinent – 'Gazza' (off-spinner Nathan Lyon) gets a chance to really attack and go for wickets. 

"(The quicks') role will be to sit back and build that pressure (if) there's not a lot in the wicket for us, and being consistent over a long period of time."

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Hazlewood knows about sustaining consistency over long periods. The 26-year-old has developed a reputation for his reliable line and length, as well as becoming the iron man of Australia's pace attack. 

Since his debut in December 2014, the Blues metronome has bowled more overs (1,073) and taken more wickets (118) than any other fast bowler in Test cricket (England's Stuart Broad is second, with 1035 overs and 115 wickets). 

Hazlewood has played little cricket since the four-Test series in India in February-March, where he took nine wickets including a career-best haul of 6-67 in Bengaluru, and while those figures are perhaps only moderate, his economy rate of 2.47 ensured he was regularly able to apply the pressure that benefited his spin-bowling counterparts. 

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The same strategy looks set to be applied in Bangladesh, with opposition captain Mushfiqur Rahim having already made it clear he expected the wickets in both Dhaka and Chittagong to be conducive to spin. 

"As a bowling side, we were on the money most of the time (in India)," Hazlewood said. "We missed a session here or there but we were pretty happy with the way we went about it.

"(In Bangladesh) there's only going to be a couple of quicks in the team and a few spinners, so as long as we're all working together, I think we'll be OK."

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With 30 Tests behind him and just three teammates from his debut match set to line up with him again in the first Test in Bangladesh (Lyon, Steve Smith and David Warner), Hazlewood is well aware of his increasing seniority in the side. 

"I see myself as a leader amongst the group now," he said. "The team has changed a lot from when I first came in, and I've gone from a junior player to a senior player. 

"So I try to take that extra initiative to lead from the front, probably more with my actions." 

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The paceman's performances will be crucial against a team adept at handling spin on their own turning tracks, and he believes he is well prepared to have a decisive influence. 

"(The Darwin wickets are) pretty similar to what we're going to face over there, so we're getting used to what we're going to face in Bangladesh," he said. 

"The body's feeling really good. It's been a good lead in. We've had a good hit-out the last few days, we've got more bowling in the next few days (in the intra-squad match) and hopefully everything will come together. 

"All of (Bangladesh's batsmen) are really good in their own conditions, they play a lot of cricket in those conditions … and they're a world-class team. 

"They had some pretty good showings in that Champions Trophy tournament and their Test cricket at home has been good – (they drew) one-all with England. 

"So we can't take them lightly, that's for sure."

Australia in Bangladesh 2017

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Bangladesh squad (preliminary): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahmudullah Riyad, Liton Kumar Das, Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Subhashish Roy, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Sanjamul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mohammad Saifuddin, Anamul Haque, Abul Hasan Raju, Al Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Muktar Ali, Tanbir Haider, Saqlain Sajib, Shafiul Islam.


11-17 August Australia pre-tour training camp, Darwin


18 August Australia arrive


22-23 August Tour match,Fatullah


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong