Josh Hazlewood has declared himself ready to come to the rescue for Australia’s depleted bowling attack in the Sydney Test next week.
The veteran seamer, who has sat out the past two matches after suffering a side strain four weeks ago against the West Indies, was close to a comeback in the second Test against South Africa at the MCG but pulled out late.
With Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green ruled out of the third clash with the Proteas at the SCG due to finger injuries, Hazlewood’s return is a timely boost.
Young West Australian speedster Lance Morris is also in contention with coach Andrew McDonald indicating they were keen to let “The Wild Thing” loose for what would be his Test debut in Sydney.
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Hazlewood told SEN Radio on Thursday morning that he was confident he would be able to get through a Test at his home ground.
“Yeah, at this stage I am [fit for Sydney]. A few more overs to bowl during this game out in the nets but I had a good hit-out two days ago,” he said.
“All the signs are good so I feel ready and fit. It was a very minor strain so a lot different to last year. Obviously got it right at the back end of the first Test so I didn’t have to push it too much.
“It recovered really quickly. Had a week off bowling, came back and didn’t feel it at all. It was just about the workloads and getting that confidence for this game. If I could bank on less than 30 overs I would have been sweet [at the MCG], but if it goes deep today and especially with Greeny going down, 40 overs might have been a stretch so I made the call before the game.”
Despite scoring an unbeaten 51 on Wednesday, Green has already been ruled out of next week’s Test and will not bowl for the rest of the match at the MCG.
Starc has continued to bat and bowl but is understood to be a major doubt to back-up in Sydney.
Australia will almost certainly seal a series win as they continue to dominate in Melbourne and will be cautious not to overwork their key players ahead of February’s blockbuster tour of India.
They will also look at playing an extra spinner at the SCG, while former captain Ricky Ponting touted WA all-rounder Aaron Hardie as a potential selection bolter.
Morris was brought into the squad for the Adelaide Test against West Indies as injury cover and could make his debut in Sydney.