Will try to keep Indians out for long in the field: Hazlewood

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has stated that his team will look to keep the Indian bowlers on the field for a substantial amount of time early in the upcoming Test series to tire them for the latter games, something which the hosts had suffered during the 2018-19 series against Virat Kohli’s men.

After honours were shared in the first two Tests which went at normal pace and saw team totals going beyond 300 only twice in eight innings, the last two Tests turned into a nightmare for the Australian team as the Indian batsmen grounded them in Melbourne in the third Test, by winning the battle of attrition. The Indian team had registered their maiden Test win in that series Down Under.

“I think what you probably saw was the bowlers not getting enough rest in between innings and (Cheteshwar) Pujara faced a lot of balls and I guess in a long series, that’s the batsman’s goal, one to score runs and to win that Test and to keep that frontline attack out on the field for as long as possible and obviously get the benefits of that later in the series which is what exactly happened last time around,” said Hazlewood while speaking to reporters on Sunday.

The Indians batted for 169.4 overs in the first innings of the Melbourne Test before declaring at 443/7. They scored at just 2.61 as the Aussies toiled. Mitchell Starc bowled 28 overs, Hazlwood 31.4, Nathan Lyon 48 and Pat Cummins 34.

The drained-out Australians folded for 150 in 66.5 overs and in just over four hours on the pitch unable to give their bowlers rest. The Aussies bowled another 37.3 overs in the Test.

Three days after the Melbourne Test, the fourth and final Test began in Sydney and the Aussies were asked to bowl, their bowlers toiling for another 167.2 overs as India racked up 622/7 in their first innings.

“We spent a lot of time in the field in Melbourne with short rest in between and then again in Sydney, so that, in a four-match or five-match series, that’s a huge goal of batters to score runs in early games, to spend a lot of time in the middle, to get some miles and legs of the opposition bowlers,” said Hazlewood before adding that his team’s target will be to do the same to Indian bowlers this time.

“…hopefully we can swing that around and keep the Indian guys out there for as long as possible and reap those benefits later in the series,” he added.

The right-arm pacer, who used the short ball to good effect in the first ODI, picking three wickets off it, further said that the delivery remains an option on Australian surfaces which don’t just have bounce and pace but also are often flat quite often.

“I think at different times yeah (we’ll use short deliveries). It has probably been a tactic all the time here in Australia with probably considering the bounce and pace compared to other countries and wickets tend to be flat from time to time,” said Hazlewood before adding that if they are not getting any result on the front-foot, they won’t hesitate in using the short-pitched delivery.

The Australia A team used leg-gully against Pujara in the first warm-up game, and looked to bowl short deliveries at the India batsman.

“I guess, if we are not getting results on the front-foot, we will challenge, at different times, with the bouncer with the leg-side field. I think you know that has always been a part of the game here in Australia, probably from both sides,” said Hazlewood ahead of the first Test that begins on December 17 at the Adelaide Oval and will be telecast on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.