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Could have bowled and made the most of dryness in first innings: Josh Hazlewood

Last updated on 09 Oct 2023 | 05:40 AM
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Could have bowled and made the most of dryness in first innings: Josh Hazlewood

Australia batted first after winning the toss against India in Chennai and were bowled out for just 199

Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood said they could have bowled first in their opening game of the 2023 World Cup against India and made full use of the dry Chennai surface on Sunday (October 8). Australia opted to bat first but the Chepauk pitch provided enough assistance to the spinners and Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav didn’t allow them to score freely. Australia batted 49.3 overs but could only manage 199 runs.

In the second innings, the new ball swung a bit and Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc reduced India to 2/3, but that’s when the dew started to settle in and the batting got a bit easier. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul then put on 165 runs for the fourth wicket and killed the game for Australia. Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell couldn’t pick a single wicket and the hosts got over the line with more than eight overs to spare.

“I'm not really in those discussions in terms of the toss but yeah it might be something we need to look at, I guess. I think the tournament will go in phases of batting first and bowling first. And yeah, it might have been something we could have done, could have bowled first and made the most of that, I guess, dryness and the turn. The dew did come in a little bit at the end and the ball got a little bit wet and soft, but I felt like we created enough chances early to make a mark,” said Hazlewood, who took 3/38 in his nine overs.

Australia did get a chance to dismiss Kohli in the eighth over but Mitchell Marsh ended up dropping a sitter. Kohli got a top-edge while playing a pull shot and the ball went to his left, Marsh had to cover a bit of ground, which he did, but saw wicketkeeper Alex Carey also charging towards the ball and ended up making a mess of it. 

“I didn't think Carey could get there. I think it was Mitch's catch and probably just Carey got quite close in the end so it might have just put Mitch off. Yeah, he dropped a catch, it's one of those things that happens. Everyone's training hard and working hard off the field to hang on to them,” said Hazlewood about the dropped opportunity.

“It was quite early when that catch was dropped but we still felt that new ball was doing enough, whether it was in the air or off the wicket. We knew that spin was going to be tough to play, maybe not as tough as during the day, but still enough. We certainly felt in the game for quite a while until the partnership grew and grew and they sort of batted us out of it. I thought we did a reasonable job, early in particular, trying to defend 200.”

Talking about the surface and Australia’s batting, Hazlewood said: “It probably spun more in the first half. Definitely, the dew came in, but I think early in our bowling innings, it was doing enough and was still dry. The wicket was up and down a little bit so you felt in the game as a quick in particular, and then I think it got a little bit better to bat on right towards the end.

“The total was under par. I can't remember exact numbers, but I think we were two for 110 or something like that. Not going really quickly but just building a base to maybe launch in the last 10 or 15 overs and you know if we get 260, 250-260, then it's a different ball game. We get those early wickets and get on top, so yeah, I think from two for 110 to 200 all-out, that's probably where the batting went wrong.”

Australia’s next game is against South Africa in Lucknow and the surface there is also known for assisting spinners. “I think in particular batting in that first innings, that was probably as extreme as the conditions you are going to get in terms of spin and playing spin throughout the middle and trying to find ways to score, keep that run rate ticking over without losing wickets. 

“So, there's probably a good sort of examination for our batters to get that up first, probably against the best spinners in the tournament. Hopefully, it gets a little bit easier from here on in and they'll come up with some new plans and go from there. We might come up against these conditions again at other grounds throughout those (remaining) eight games.

“You know we might have to reassess and say 260 is a good score rather than 300 plus to what we've seen on a few other grounds. So it’s just about assessing and if we can get to that score, then we can try and defend it.”

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