Starc praises ‘genius’ Australian pace partner Hazlewood

  • The Ashes
- Agence France-Presse, BRISBANE

Nov 14, 2017-

Mitchell Starc says pace partner Josh Hazlewood’s unerring line and length will allow his fellow bowlers to let rip at England’s batsmen in the Ashes Test series.

Starc and Hazlewood form a potent new-ball attack for Australia in the series, which gets underway in Brisbane on November 23. Backing them up is another New South Wales tearaway, Pat Cummins, who has been singled out by Australian leg-spin great Shane Warne as the Ashes destroyer.

Hazlewood will be fresh and rested for the series, having played just one Sheffield Shield game since coming back from a side strain injury. Test spearhead Starc may have captured two hat-tricks for NSW in a recent Shield win over Western Australia, but he claims Hazlewood will prove to be Australia’s spark. Starc said Hazlewood’s nagging line and length would tie up one end and allow him and Cummins to attack from the other.

“He’s a bloody genius with line and length, it allows Pat and I to be aggressive and that’s how I bowl,” Starc said in Brisbane on Monday. “We can unleash from the other end, bowl as quick as we can and attack. He (Hazlewood) takes his wickets with line and length and Pat and I come in and try and blast teams out, try and attack the stumps and really intimidate. We complement each other really well.”

Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and fourth paceman Jackson Bird are training together this week in Brisbane instead of playing Shield games for their state sides. Starc has taken 17 wickets at 12.70 in this season’s Sheffield Shield, but said he had yet to reach peak form ahead of the first Test. “I think I was just used at the right times and cleaned up the tail against WA,” he said. “Josh was the one who blasted out the top order and Patty bowled really well in the middle.”

Starc played down talk that he had to dominate, just as fellow left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson did to secure victory for Australia in the last Ashes series Down Under in 2013. “I think we have an attack that is gelling well,” Starc said. “It doesn’t have to be one guy who stands up. If someone has a Mitchell Johnson-type series, fantastic. But if we win the Ashes it doesn’t matter who gets all the wickets. Hopefully we can stay together as a (bowling) group and do something special over the next few years.”


England allrounder Ali fit to play

TOWNSVILLE: England’s Moeen Ali says he has overcome his side strain and is ready to play his first Australian tour match in Townsville this week.

The allrounder missed England’s opening two games in Perth and Adelaide but is available for the final Ashes warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI starting on Wednesday. “I am good,” he said. “It’s just a slight strain on my side from throwing. It was a bit frustrating but also not a bad thing, you get a lot more work done. I feel like I am ready to play and I can’t wait to spend time in the field. We have got four days of cricket ahead.”

The four-dayer in north Queensland is England’s last game before the Ashes series-opener in Brisbane. Moeen, on his first Ashes tour Down Under, says he is ready for the intensity of the series. “I’m prepared the best I can. When you’re out there you rely on your instincts. I know it will be tough, but I’ve always backed my ability,” said Ali.

England head into their third tour match on the back of a 192-run win over a CA XI in a day-night encounter at Adelaide Oval. Moeen, usually England’s No 8 in Test cricket, is likely to move up the order in the absence of allrounder Ben Stokes, who remains at home after being arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm. Stokes is awaiting the outcome of a police investigation into his involvement in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September. (AFP)

Published: 14-11-2017 08:51

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