After two dismissals, Hazlewood won’t let Root off the hook

Josh Hazlewood is relishing being Steve Smith’s man for the moment as the giant quick eyes off the scalp of England captain Joe Root in Perth.
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Despite still working his way back to his best after an injury enforced lay-off, Hazlewood has delivered two searing bursts that swung the Brisbane and Adelaide Tests in ‘s favour.

Although Root’s return of 142 at 38 has been steady, former England captain Michael Vaughan believes he needs to make 150 if the visitors are to win the third Test.

Hazlewood has developed a reputation for nullifying star batsmen, having dismissed South African great Hashim Amla five out of six times last summer.

The giant quick identified Root as England’s key wicket before the series and has nailed him twice, both at key moments in games when he appeared set for a big score.

“I think all the bowlers want that wicket and there’s obviously a couple of key ones which we’ve talked about,” Hazlewood said.

“Joe is obviously the key – he can hold the innings together and score runs pretty freely when he gets some poor bowling his way so everyone has to be ready when he comes in and stop that quick 20 or 30 runs early.”

Root’s dismissal on the final day in Adelaide cruelled England’s bid for an unlikely victory.

“The time of that, start of the fifth day when things could have gone either way, so you’re obviously bit more focused and not as much room for error against those better players,” Hazlewood said. “Still the key to him is bowling your best ball more often than not and hopefully keep the runs to a minimum and keep taking his wicket.”

Two Tests into the series, Hazlewood says he is still improving his length having not delivered the consistency that has become the key part of his game throughout his 33-match career.

Although former Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson told the n pacemen to bowl fast and short at England, Hazlewood has been at his best when he has pitched up, surprising batsmen with his extra bounce. He has also been at times ‘s fastest quick.

England’s batsmen have struggled against a relentless n attack that has no weak link. They have passed 300 only once and no player has reached triple figures.

Vaughan believes the time has come to change England’s batting order. Jonny Bairstow needed to move up from seven to six while first drop James Vince and No.5 Dawid Malan needed to switch. Root, however, should stay at four, Vaughan said.

“You look at the best players in this series, they tend to stick at four – Virat Kohli, Steve Smith,” Vaughan, who led England to Ashes glory in 2005, said. “I think England to be the best team they possibly can be they’ve got to find a three. If I was England I’d jig the order. [Malan] bats at three for Middlesex so that’s a position he’s used to. He looks to me the kind of player that I don’t think he’s going to be over-aggressive but he’d fight to get rid of that new ball.

“It would allow Vince to bat a little more freely at five. He is a player that likes to play his strokes and against the Kookaburra new ball, particularly against the quality the Aussies have got you’ve got to fancy they create chances. Also, I’d have Jonny at six.”

Vaughan said Moeen Ali needed to “come to the party” though he is battling a cut on his spinning finger. He has only two wickets at 98 compared to Nathan Lyon’s 11 at 23.

“He’s a senior pro in the side now. If he’s not getting wickets at worst he’s got to hold an end,” Vaughan said. “For England to compete out here and potentially win a Test match, you’d have to say the off-spinner will have to play a role.




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