Josh snares six as Starc limps over line

Centre of attention: Josh Hazlewood after claiming his fifth wicket yesterday at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.
Centre of attention: Josh Hazlewood after claiming his fifth wicket yesterday at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: Getty Images.

Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood showed he could be the man to step up for his country in the absence of Mitchell Starc.

The left-arm quick will miss the rest of the summer with the ankle injury that cut short his involvement in the historic pink-ball Test at the Adelaide Oval.

Hazlewood produced career-best figures on day three of the match against New Zealand in Adelaide, taking 6-70 as the Black Caps were bowled out for 208 in their second innings, leaving Australia with a modest 187 for victory.

The hosts made tough work of the chase, losing seven wickets to claim the win in a thrilling day-night Test, which has been widely lauded for its compelling viewing.

Following Shaun Marsh's dismissal for 49 to make it 6-176, the match reached a thrilling early climax during the night session of day three.

Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was next to go with the score 7-185.

But tail-ender Peter Siddle then hit the winning runs in the same game he took his 200th Test wicket, and on the same day his grandmother passed away.

Surprisingly, Starc was sent out to bat with Siddle with two runs needed to win, despite hobbling around on crutches earlier in the day.

Earlier, Hazlewood put his hand up to take over the No.1 paceman's role in the absence of fellow New South Welshman Starc.

He bowled exceptionally well to take six scalps, after being questioned by critics, following his returns in the Ashes series in England, and the first two Tests at home this summer.

Australia's bowling coach Craig McDermott revealed Starc's ankle injury was not as bad as first feared.

McDermott told ABC Grandstand he hoped Starc would not need surgery, and would be available for Australia's tour of New Zealand early next year.

Crucially, that should also see the left-armer play in the World T20 championship, the only global trophy to elude the Aussies.

"The good news for us is it's not going to be as long as we thought - he's in a boot for three weeks and we'll start working from there," McDermott said.

"Hopefully we can get him up for the New Zealand series and the World T20 where he's ranked No.1 in the world and be very important for us - in both series really.

"It's only a rest period at the moment so his heel impingement (surgery) may come at some other later time - we'll have to wait and see."

Selectors would be delighted they stuck with Hazlewood after calling up aggressive paceman James Pattinson into their initial 13-man squad for the Adelaide Test.

Hazlewood is 12th on the ICC Test bowling ranks, but since making his debut has taken more wickets than any current quick in the game - 53 from 12 Tests.

That is one more than Englishman Stuart Broad who has played 13 Tests, and four more than Starc who has played 12 Tests.



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