Australia turn to Josh Hazlewood in preference to Mitchell Starc as part of bowler rotation policy

Nick Hoult
The Telegraph
Australia will turn to Josh Hazlewood to replace the rested James Pattinson at Lord's for the second Ashes Test - Getty Images Europe
Australia will turn to Josh Hazlewood to replace the rested James Pattinson at Lord's for the second Ashes Test - Getty Images Europe

Josh Hazlewood is likely to pip Mitchell Starc to a place in ­Australia's final XI on Wednesday as they ­juggle their fast bowling resources.

Australia confirmed on the eve of the second Test that James Pattinson is being rested for this match with a view to keeping him fresh for the third at Headingley, which starts next Thursday. It opens the door to Hazlewood playing his first game for Australia since January.

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Hazlewood was left out of the World Cup squad to be fully fit for the Ashes and to hone his bowling with the Dukes ball. Starc was the leading wicket-taker in the World Cup, and took four for 43 when Australia beat England at Lord’s in a World Cup group game, but Australia are worried he is struggling for control at the moment. In what could be a low-scoring Test, leaking runs with the new ball might be the difference between winning and losing.

Pattinson lost three years of his international career to a serious back injury and only returned to the Australia side at Edgbaston last week. He bowled well, but his workload needs managing carefully and Australia have the luxury of Hazlewood and Starc in reserve.

“They are both world-class bowlers and when you have guys like that out, particularly two of them at a time, you can see what sort of people they are and we’ve been really impressed with both of them,” said Tim Paine, the Australia captain. 

“We’ve had Josh Hazlewood on the A tour [in England], the whole time priming himself to play in the Test. It’s always nice from a captaincy and a leadership point of view when you’ve got two senior players who are world class left out and they cop it on the chin, run drinks and train their backsides off in the lunch hours and tea breaks. 

“It sets a really good example for the rest of our team. We are ­absolutely rapt the way they have gone about it and whichever one of those two we unleash, they are ­certainly ready to go.”

Hazlewood is more likely to bowl a probing line and length than Starc, and Australia reckon in English conditions it is wearing down batsman with accuracy that is key, rather than trying to blow them away with pace.

Starc has played eight Tests in England and averages 31 without bowling any real match-winning spells. Hazlewood was consistent in England four years ago, taking 16 wickets in four Tests, but has ­improved since then to become one of the best in the world.

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