Australia Tour of England - Men's
Hazlewood targets big finish in Ashes race
A late omission for the opening Test match, Josh Hazlewood has proved his worth since as he looks to hold his spot for the remaining two Tests
Sam Ferris in Derby
1 September 2019, 05:01 PM AEST
After missing out on the first Test at Edgbaston, spearhead Josh Hazlewood is confident he can play the final four Ashes Tests on the bounce.
Hazlewood was an 11th-hour omission from the series' opener in Birmingham but returned for the second Test at Lord's in what was his first Test match in eight months having been sidelined with a back injury.
He followed his impressive Test comeback with a career-best haul of 9-115 at Headingley which included 5-30 in England's first innings of 67.
Hazlewood said in April it would be "near impossible" for any of Australia's fast bowlers to play all five Ashes Tests, with only marathon man Pat Cummins with a chance to achieve the feat having not missed a match yet.
But Hazlewood says he is certain he can play the final four Tests unless his bowling workload spikes at Old Trafford, venue of the fourth Test, which starts on Wednesday.
"The body's really good," Hazlewood said. "I felt a lot better at Headingley than Lord's, just getting those miles into the legs in that first Test (back).
"I can't see why not unless we bowl a mountain of overs in the next game but body's feeling really good and happy to play both if possible.
In Hazlewood's favour of playing at Old Trafford and The Oval (from September 12-16) is his moderate workload in the Test matches he has played.
At Lord's he bowled 35 overs while in Leeds he got through 43.5, which is in the ballpark of what is budgeted for a fast bowler each Test.
The 28-year-old missed Australia's tour match in Derby to rest and given his brilliant form, it would be hard to see the right-hander miss out in Manchester.
Four years ago, Hazlewood – then a Test a rookie – got carried away trying to swing the Dukes ball on his maiden Ashes tour in the UK.
But in 2019, he has discovered less is more.
"It certainly feels like I'm bowling well," he said.
"Ever since I bowled at Worcester a few weeks back, I took it into Lord's and into Headingley.
"I think I'm not trying to do too much, trying to be pretty simple, not trying and swing the ball at all really, occasionally I do when it gets a bit older.
"But just hitting that right length with the new ball, making them play, not trying and do too much, keep it simple."
Hazlewood has been the pick of the bowlers for either side since the second Test and his performance in Leeds left former Australia captain Ricky Ponting mightily impressed.
"Hazlewood, with the exception of his spell with the second new ball in the second innings, I'm not sure I've seen him bowl better than that," Ponting said on the latest episode of The Unplayable Podcast.
"That was outstanding from him."
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
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval