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Ashes Test opener

Reuters
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MELBOURNE - Australia's Josh Hazlewood is a "genius" with line and length and will have no trouble being ready for next week's Ashes opener against England despite having had only a single warm-up match, fellow seamer Mitchell Starc has said.

Hazlewood, Starc and Pat Cummins have been rested for the third round of the domestic Sheffield Shield to preserve them for the Nov. 23 Test in Brisbane.

In rampaging form, pace spearhead Starc and Cummins had two first class games for New South Wales, but their team mate Hazlewood just had the one, against Western Australia, after making a delayed comeback from a side strain.

It was an impressive return for Hazlewood, who claimed six wickets and earned gushing praise from Australia captain Steve Smith.

Starc, too, was among the admirers and is relishing the prospect of all three New South Wales bowlers steaming in at England's batsmen at the Gabba.

"(Hazlewood) was straight back into his Test form after one over of Shield cricket," Starc told local media on Monday. He's a bloody genius with line and length, it allows Pat and I to be aggressive and that's how I bowl.

"We can unleash from the other end, bowl as quick as we can and attack.

"(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."

Having poached 17 wickets from his two Shield matches, Starc's form has raised home hopes he might prove to be England's new left-arm nemesis, four years after Mitchell Johnson dominated in a 5-0 whitewash.

"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 group and do something special over the next few years."








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