Josh Hazlewood: Australia need to adapt to ‘new Ashes’

By Sports Desk June 16, 2023

Josh Hazlewood admitted Australia were still trying to come to terms with a “new Ashes” after England came out firing to score at five an over on day one of the first LV= Insurance Test.

The tourists employed defensive fields for long periods, posting a host of boundary riders but could not find a way to stem the scoring as their rivals raced to 393 for eight before a surprise declaration late in the evening session.

While Australia would probably have taken the total after losing the toss and bowling in serene batting conditions, the speed at which England made their runs may have bruised some egos along the way.

The typically miserly Scott Boland went at more than a run-a-ball, Pat Cummins was blasted for two sixes and Nathan Lyon bought his four wickets at a steep price of 149.

Hazlewood fared best of all with two for 61 from 15 overs but admitted England’s attempts to force the game represented uncharted territory.

“We’ve got to start to look at things differently, not so much at strike-rates and economies and things like that. It’s just about wicket and the score,” he said.

“We’ve taken eight for just under 400 and you’d take that on this wicket, whether it takes 80 overs or 160. It’s the same score. If we can keep it as simple as that it will go a long way to wrap our heads around the new Ashes. We’ll keep learning but it’s a good start.”

Hazlewood at one stage hinted Australia were content with England’s scoring rate, suggesting they feared something even more dramatic had they kept the field up.

“There was a lot more ones out there probably but if we shut down the boundaries, then the score doesn’t really go through the roof at seven or eight (an over),” he said. “If we can keep it at five an over and keep taking wickets throughout the day, that somewhat keeps things in check.

“We had different fields at different stages and some worked, some probably didn’t. It’s a good fun challenge to have, although I don’t think we got dragged into it as much as we could have if things went really south. I thought we held our guns pretty well.”

Hazlewood was happy with his side’s standing in the game, with David Warner and Usman Khawaja negating England captain Ben Stokes’ declaration gambit by safely reaching 14 without loss at the close.

“They’re at 390 and we’re none-for, so it’s pretty even I’d say,” he said.

“If you’re none down, you’re pretty happy obviously. That’s a tick.”

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