England v Australia ODIs - Men's
Hoff hits high notes with new-ball exhibition
Paceman capitalises on helpful conditions to produce one of the finest white-ball performances of his career
12 September 2020, 09:16 AM AEST
Australia quick Josh Hazlewood produced a performance he ranked "right up there" in his one-day career to put the visitors' just one win away from becoming the first side to knock off England in a bilateral ODI series in almost four years.
Hazlewood, who was omitted from last year's World Cup squad as he recovered from injury and with an eye to the Ashes series that followed, was in scintillating touch with the new ball in helpful conditions at Old Trafford in Manchester, claiming 3-26 in a player-of-the-match performance.
At one point the unerringly consistent paceman had figures of 2-5 from six overs, with three maidens – this against an England batting line-up that has toyed with attacks the world over for the better part of five years.
"I think it's right up there for me," Hazlewood said when asked how he ranked the effort in terms of his finest ODI performances.
"I've got a couple of five-fers in one-day cricket over the years but against this line-up, this top order, to bowl that well on this wicket, I was very happy with how they were coming out.
"The length I hit was really good, I didn't try to do too much at all – it was just about being accurate and the wicket was probably nipping around a little bit and doing enough.
"I looked at the way they bowled a little bit. It did a bit early on so we were expecting the new ball to not really swing much – it was quite windy – so it was just about hitting the wicket hard, getting a bit of variable (movement) up and down, as well as sideways.
"England's top order has probably been the form top order of the last three or four years so it's a good measure of where you're at.
"To keep them to 2-30 in the first 10, the wicket was pretty helpful for a new ball, that's when it did the most for both teams, so it was about exploiting that as best we could and hitting that length.
"It was good fun to bowl eight (overs) up front and test myself as well."
Australia have only beaten England three times in their past 14 ODI encounters but the towering presence of Hazlewood has loomed large on two of those occasions. In Adelaide in 2018 he dismissed superstar trio Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler for ducks as England fell to 5-8 inside seven overs, and in Manchester on Friday night he was at it again, removing Roy and Joe Root and narrowly missing out on the wicket of Bairstow when an lbw decision was overturned.
Incredibly, Hazlewood is the only paceman in the world to have played England more than twice in the past four years of ODI cricket and escape with an economy rate below five runs per over (4.66).
The New South Welshman was a surprise omission from last year's World Cup squad as his return from a back injury left a dilemma of sorts for selectors; to risk him in the ODI showpiece, or to ensure he was at full fitness for the Ashes. While his impact on Australia's World Cup campaign will forever remain a hypothetical, he was outstanding in the Ashes, with his return of 20 wickets in four matches at 21.85 going at least some way to vindicating a difficult selection call.
Hazlewood insists he is looking "onwards and upwards" as he targets a permanent spot in Australia's ODI side, having spent much of 2020 working on variations to increase his versatility as a white-ball bowler.
"I guess during (the) T20I (series) and a bit during the Big Bash, and even the next month-and-a-half in IPL, just to work on a few different change-ups and learn from the T20 guys who do it year round," he said of a specific focus on limited-overs training.
"But if we get a wicket like (at Old Trafford) I'm going to bowl a lot up front and it's just about sticking to my strengths and hitting the wicket hard and getting the ball in a good area.
"That's more my Test match stuff, and then if I'm bowling at different times in the game it's about using those variations I've worked on at different times."
Happily for Hazlewood, who sits 15th on the ICC bowling rankings, the final two ODIs of this series – to be played Sunday and Wednesday – are both also at Old Trafford.
England have not lost a bilateral ODI series since they were beaten by India in January 2017.
2020 Tour of England
Australia's T20 and ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
England T20I squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood. Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood
England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood