Australia Tour of England - Men's
Hazlewood ready for an Ashes recall
Australian seamer impresses with line and length in tour match to put him firmly in the frame for the second Test at Lord's
Sam Ferris in Worcester
9 August 2019, 07:43 AM AEST
Pace ace Josh Hazlewood says he is bowling exactly how wants as he pushes his case for an Ashes recall ahead of the second Test at Lord's next week.
Hazlewood has been the pick of the bowlers over the first two days of Australia's three-day tour match against Worcestershire at New Road, taking 3-34 from 15 overs having missed out on playing the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston when he was overlooked for veteran Peter Siddle.
Australia's selectors have been vocal on how they will pick the bowling attack to suit the conditions offered at each venue, meaning Hazlewood is in the running for a return at Lord's, where he has a career average of 17.60 having taken 5-88 from 30 overs at the venue.
As was the case with the first Test, the national selectors will have a headache picking the attack for the second Test with the fast bowling battery firing on all cylinders.
The 28-year-old says he is ready to go having achieved what he was after in across the first two days against Worcestershire.
"I got enough out of this one innings, to be honest," Hazlewood said on Thursday evening.
"Bowling exactly how I wanted, swung when I wanted, seam when I wanted.
"It was just about bowling that right length and hitting it time and again, being patient and I was lucky enough to get the rewards pretty quickly early on then we had to fight for the last couple.
"I'm feeling really comfortable where I'm at, at the moment."
Hazlewood predominantly bowled a full length at New Road which accounted for his three wickets.
He had opener Josh Dell bowled with his fifth ball, trapped youngster Jack Haynes plumb in front and had Riki Wessels playing forward and edging to Marnus Labuschagne at second slip.
The hit-out this week is just his second first-class game since suffering a back stress fracture in the wake of the four-Test series against India last summer on home soil.
The injury blow ruled Hazlewood out of the World Cup but he earned his way back into the national setup on the Australia A tour of England, where he played three 50-over matches, a first-class match against Sussex and the all-Australian intra-squad game in Southampton.
Hazlewood says he's handling his comeback and disappointment of being overlooked for Birmingham as "best as someone can" but feels he is nearing his best the more he bowls.
"Coming back from a pretty serious back injury, back-to-back stress fractures, it can take a while to get back into the swing of things," said Hazlewood, who also missed the 2018 ODI tour of England with back issues.
"I feel I'm getting better and better each bowl and last night and today felt really, really good.
"If I just keep improving there and putting my hand up every time I get the chance that's all you can do."
The Bendemeer product was not the only high-profile omission from the Edgbaston Test, with Mitch Starc – the 2019 World Cup leading wicket-taker – also missing out.
The left-armer took 10 wickets in his last Test, against Sri Lanka in Canberra, but was not in the final 12 for the series' opening Test as he continues to make the transition from bowling with a white Kookaburra ball to a red Dukes ball.
Starc claimed 2-56 from 15.5 overs against Worcestershire and was hit for nine fours as he aggressively searched for wickets throughout his spell.
He should have had a third wicket but overstepped the delivery he castled fellow quick Charlie Morris.
When the swing disappeared, Starc used the short ball to unsettle the opposing batsmen, including Morris, who needed a new helmet after he was clocked but would go on to make an unbeaten 53.
Starc's express pace will be an asset should Australia encounter a flat pitch during the Ashes, and Hazlewood says his Blues teammate is always in with a chance of breaking a partnership given his speed and skills.
"The pace is obviously still there," Hazlewood said when asked about Starc's performance.
"He's a genuine wicket-taker all the time and always poses that threat so you always love him in your team, that's for sure."
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), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Tour match: Australians v Worcestershire, August 7-9
Second Test: August 14-18,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