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Hazlewood says Australia ready to battle India in Tests

December 13, 2020 11:58 IST
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Australia pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood at a training session. Hazlewood said the Aussies will use the short-ball technique on bouncy Australian pitches

IMAGE: Australia pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood at a training session. Hazlewood said the Aussies will use the short-ball technique on bouncy Australian pitches. Photograph: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Ahead of the four-match Test series against India, Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood on Sunday said that his side would definitely employ the short-ball tactic against the visitors.

There has been a spate of concussions during the ongoing Tour game in Australia but the home team will not shy from the short ball said the paceman.

 

With vice-captain Pat Cummins, Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and spinner Nathan Lyon, the Aussies would have full strength, even as their batting faces some question marks with injury woes to opening duo of David Warner (groin) and young gun Will Pucovksi (concussion).

All-rounder Cameron Green, who bats in the middle-order, too faces injury concerns after suffering concussion from a Jasprit Bumrah hit during Australia A's tour match against the Indians in Sydney last week.

The first Test of the four-match series, beginning on December 17 will be played at the Adelaide Oval in a day-night contest. Australia have an unbeaten record in day-night Tests having won all the pink ball Tests they have played.

"I think at different times, yes, the short ball will be used as a tactic. The bouncer strategy is here to stay. It is a part of the game. It is going to hang around for sure. It's probably a tactic all the time in Australia with the sort of bounce and pace our wickets have compared to other countries," said Hazlewood during a virtual press conference on Sunday.

"And the wickets can also be quite flat from time to time. So, if we are not getting results on the front foot, we will challenge the batsmen at different times with the bouncer and a leg-side field. That's always been part of the game here, probably from both sides," he added.

Virat Kohli will be playing just the first Test against Australia as he will return home after being granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Hazlewood had dismissed Kohli four times (3 times in ODIs, and one in T20I) in the white-ball leg earlier.

 Australia's Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins during a training session 

IMAGE: Australia's Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins during a training session. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

When asked about his battle with Kohli, Hazlewood said: "I have had some luck against him of late in the white-ball format. So, you take a little bit of that into the next format. That said, it's a fresh start. It's a different story again with the pink ball."

"He scored some runs against us last time with the red ball and I think it's crucial to start well against him. We've only got him for two innings in the one Test in Adelaide," he added.

During the 2018-19 tour, Virat Kohli-led India beat Australia 2-1 in the Test series. This was the first time that India won a Test series Down Under. For the visitors, Cheteshwar Pujara played a crucial role and Hazlewood expects his batsmen to do the same this series.

At that time, Australia were also without the services of David Warner and Steve Smith as the duo were serving their one-year bans for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

"I think what you saw last time (2018-19 series) was the bowlers not getting enough rest between innings. Pujara faced a lot of balls and in a long series -- that's the batman's goal, not only to score runs in that Test, but also keep the frontline attack of the opposition out on the field for as long as possible," said Hazlewood.

"You get the benefits of that later in the series which is exactly what happened last time around. We spent a lot of time in the field in Melbourne. We sort of rested in between before getting into the Sydney Test. Hopefully, we can spring that around this time and keep the Indian bowlers out on the field for as long as possible and reap those benefits later in the series," he added.

Asked about the disruptive preparation, he said: "It's been an unusual one. Pretty much every guy was playing soon after the Indian Premier League and we struggled in the limited overs cricket.

"It's been a little bit different but every International cricketer is sort of ready. We had a few days out in the middle of Adelaide Oval and still have some sessions to go before the game. We will be all ready to go and it's been a good prep so far."

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