Marathon man Hazlewood surprised by collapse
Josh Hazlewood praises Australia’s bowling and fielding performances and urges Australia to re-open batting scars in England’s second innings
Sam Ferris at Headingley, Leeds
24 August 2019, 09:28 AM AEST
Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood started and finished the demolition job of England on Friday in a bowling performance the right-armer could not quite believe himself.
Hazlewood captured 5-30, his maiden five-wicket Ashes haul in England, in the rout of the home side, who were bowled out for just 67 inside 28 overs.
"It was interesting, it didn’t really feel like there was a big collapse," Hazlewood said after play.
"The runs stayed pretty stagnant for a lot of the time and we just kept building pressure and taking the wicket here and there.
"A bit of luck went our way and it just felt like it was our day. We certainly bowled well.
"There was a couple of really good deliveries in those wickets and we were quite happy with how we went based on our plans.
"The slips caught very well, everything just seemed to go our way. It was pretty surprising."
The carnage began in the fourth over when Hazlewood dismissed Jason Roy for the second time in three innings, having questioned the right-hander's Test opening credentials ahead of the series.
Two balls later, Hazlewood had the prized scalp of the England captain Joe Root, out caught behind to a brilliant delivery that angled in, straightened, found the outside edge and was well held at first slip by David Warner, who held an Ashes-record four catches.
Root is averaging 19.80 in the series and his last two innings have produced zero runs from three balls.
But the skipper has not been helped by an opening stand that has not batted past the 10th over in this series, which Hazlewood says leaves Root vulnerable against the visitors' supreme pace attack.
"I certainly like him in there as early as possible," Hazlewood said.
"They follow him a little bit, he's the leader, he's the captain, he's got the best average, he's their best batsman going by numbers.
"So if we can get him I think they can be vulnerable at times, same as any other team; if their best batter's out you feel a bit more relaxed about your business."
Hazlewood bowled 11 of the 12 overs from the Rugby Ground End in the first session, reprieved for one over of spin by Nathan Lyon, as he picked up Jonny Bairstow in similar fashion to Root before the luncheon interval.
The 28-year-old has dealt with a series of back injuries over the past two years but has spent that time working on his fitness and endurance, which enabled him to push through a marathon session of bowling.
And having admitted to being slightly underdone in his return to Test cricket last week at Lord's, Friday delivered the benefits of that hit-out and his hours of fitness training.
"The first session felt long, but it wasn't too hot out there and it didn't take a lot out of me," he said.
"Last week, the miles weren't quite in the legs, so it was good to get a Test under the belt.
"I felt a lot better this week, the rhythm was good, it's match fitness I guess."
Hazlewood picked up his fourth wicket with his first ball after lunch as Jos Buttler drove a low catch to strategically-placed Usman Khawaja at short cover to leave England 8-66.
With the fifth ball of his 12th over, the Bendemeer product bowled No.11 Jack Leach around his legs to take his fifth wicket and bundle England out for 67, their lowest Ashes score in 61 years.
Australia's quicks dried up the runs, relentlessly challenged the defence and tested the patience of England's batting unit that has fired in one-day cricket over recent years but has crumbled in the whites to be out for less than 100 three times in 2019.
As far as game plans go, Australia's tactics could not have been better executed.
"They're all great one day cricketers, some are great Test cricketers, so I think they love to feel bat on ball, especially through that middle order," Hazlewood said.
"If we can dry up the runs and force a mistake, which we saw a couple today, then that's fantastic.
"(You) always love the scoreboard going nowhere and picking up a wicket here or there."
Four years ago, Hazlewood was part of the Australian side that was rolled for 60 at Trent Bridge, which resulted in his side relinquishing the Ashes.
On Friday, the shoe was on the other foot and if Australia can capitalise on their sublime bowling display with a win on the weekend, it will see Australia retain the Ashes with two Tests to play.
Australia still need to set England a target and take 10 more wickets, but Hazlewood says the tourists' attack will start with the mental edge after rolling their foes for such a paltry total.
"We might be starting with a few scars there (in England's batting)," he said.
"Sixty is hard work to come back from during a Test. I don't think many teams are winning if one of their innings is 60 or 70 runs. It makes it difficult.
"I think if we start well again next innings, they might think 'here we go again'. So it's about creating that doubt in the mind through the way we've gone about it, is not letting the foot off, just keep going."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval