Destroyer Hazlewood lauds rise of the 'machine'
Having ripped through England with a late burst of wickets at Old Trafford, Australia’s quick praises teammate Pat Cummins
Sam Ferris at Old Trafford
7 September 2019, 07:31 AM AEST
Australia spearhead Josh Hazlewood says a tweak to his bowling action is paying huge dividends after he ripped through England's batting order late on day three at Old Trafford.
But the right-armer would not have made the breakthroughs he did if not for an inspired spell of fast bowling from pace ace Pat Cummins.
Hazlewood claimed all four of the England wickets to fall on Friday, finishing the day with a burst of 3-15 in 27 balls to walk of at stumps with figures of 4-48 from 20 overs.
Hazlewood now has 16 wickets in the series at 16.5 runs apiece having missed the first Test of the series in Birmingham and says his performance is "certainly up there" with the best he’s ever bowled.
And it comes after making a subtle change to his action following the back injury he sustained in the New Year's Test against India in January.
Hazlewood’s latest back injury – his second back stress fracture issue in 18 months – ruled him out of Australia's World Cup campaign but allowed him to have a slow, methodical build-up to the Ashes and that patience is now paying off.
"I feel like I made a few little changes after my last injury and everything is in a great line, if that makes sense" Hazlewood said after play.
"I find it not easy, but if I get everything right at my end, the right line is on off stump or just outside it.
"I think am bowling a lot less deliveries wide of off (stump) and on the pads due to my action.
"It's only a little change but I have worked hard on it over March, April, even into May.
"I did some good work at home and reaping the benefits now."
Hazlewood started the day by removing nightwatchman Craig Overton caught at second slip by Steve Smith, his 100th catch in Tests.
His second victim came 53 overs later when he broke the 141-run third-wicket partnership between Joe Root and Rory Burns by finding the outside edge of the opener's bat to Smith, who again made no mistake.
In his next over, Hazlewood dismissed Root for the seventh time in his Test career with a ball that nipped back, kept low and trapped the England captain stone cold lbw.
No bowler has dismissed Root more in Test cricket than Hazlewood, and the Australian has not dismissed another batter more than the hosts' skipper.
The 29-year-old struck again before play was suspended due to bad light, bowling Jason Roy neck and crop to uproot the No.5's middle stump clean out of the ground.
While Hazlewood's spell was mightily impressive, it came off the back of perhaps an even better display of fast bowling from world No.1 Cummins.
In a 10-over burst either side of tea, Cummins consistently challenged Root and Burns, beat the bat and struck the batters on the body.
He floored Root, who had been forced to change boxes after a sickening hit from a Mitch Starc delivery earlier in the day, with a delivery that cannoned into his back pad above the knee roll.
As Australia unsuccessfully reviewed, Root hobbled to point and called for medical attention. In his next over, Cummins extracted an edge off Root, but it flied between gloveman Tim Paine and first slip David Warner, who both watched the ball sail past without attempting a catch.
Hazlewood replaced the luckless Cummins and, two overs into his spell, had Root lbw.
Hazlewood said Cummins barely bowls a bad spell and was in awe of what the 26-year-old is able to do.
"He's a machine really," Hazlewood said.
"He had all that bad (luck) with injury through his teens, early 20s and then he's come out the other side.
"He's always been a great athlete, I guess it was just a matter of time before that body hardened up and his bones hardened up.
"As a power and strength athlete, he's fantastic and he's got great endurance as well.
"He's pretty much the all-round package.
"It's pretty disheartening as well sometimes, to see (him) running all day.
"He's such a great athlete and I just hope it continues for 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, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia won by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: England won by one wicket at Headingley
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval