Hazlewood hopeful of winning back place as Australia eye South Africa clean sweep

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Josh Hazlewood is hopeful he can reassert his place in Australia's bowling attack ahead of the third and final Test against South Africa.

With Australia having already wrapped up a series victory following an impressive rout at the MCG, Pat Cummins' side head to Sydney in search of a clean sweep.

Injuries to Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc have seen Ashton Agar and Matt Renshaw handed red-ball recalls for the match, while Scott Boland has impressed through the series, but Hazlewood will hope he can rediscover his form after returning from injury.

Having missed the majority of a home Ashes series just over a year ago, Hazlewood played only two Tests in 2022, though the paceman believes he still has a valuable position in the pecking order.

"I still feel like it's in place," Hazlewood told reporters. "It's always good to have pressure It's great to have options, and it keeps you on your toes.

"[Injuries have been] frustrating, definitely. I don't feel like I've been injured much. It just happens to be at the wrong time of the year.

"The Test matches are so close together now. Apart from that, [for] the rest of the 24 months I've been fit and firing. So it's frustrating when you think about it like that."

Green and Starc's absence will possibly open the door for Hazlewood to feature, though he will face increased competition again when the two return.

But the focus will be on ensuring a whitewash against the Proteas at the SCG, where Australia have lost just one of their last 21 Tests.

Australia have won their last three men’s Tests against South Africa at home, the last and only time they recorded a longer winning run against the Proteas in such fixtures was an eight-match span from February 1911 to December 1952.

South Africa meanwhile risk losing a fifth straight Test, matching the rough run they endured between February and October 2019.

Khawaja heads to happy hunting ground

While his team-mates have been racking up big scores against the Proteas, Usman Khawaja has struggled for form across the series, with a total of 14 runs over three innings.

But he heads to a venue with rich pickings. Just 33 runs away from 4,000 in international red-ball cricket, his Test average at the SCG of 98.3 is the third-best of any player at the stadium, behind Wally Hammond and Sachin Tendulkar.

Nortje out to frustrate foes again

It has been a humbling experience for South Africa with bat and ball, but Anrich Nortje will hope at least to continue being a thorn in the side of opposition orders in 2023.

Batters played and missed at 19 per cent of balls he bowled in Tests in 2022, the highest rate of any player.