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Starc backs Hazlewood to lead attack

Cricket

Josh Hazlewood showed in Adelaide he is capable of leading Australia’s attack and Mitchell Starc expects to see more of the same this summer.

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Injured paceman Starc will miss his side’s three-Test series against the West Indies, which starts on December 10 in Hobart.

Hazlewood finished with career-best match figures of 9-136 in the day-night Test, earning man-of-the-match honours at Adelaide Oval.

The 24-year-old is expected to be rested at some point in the series against the West Indies, possibly as early as the first Test.

Hazlewood bowled a total of 119.1 overs throughout the three-Test series, with team management worried about his workloads.

Starc knows all about bowling under duress, having nursed bone spurs in his ankle for most of this year, and says Hazlewood is primed to deliver.

“He definitely showed us what he can do and he’s at the top of his game,” the left-armer said.

“He bowled fantastically. He probably should have had a five-for before the close of play on day two.

“He’s flying. He’s doing a great job and I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more wickets this summer from him.”

Hazlewood removed New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill in the second innings, also dismissing dangerman Ross Taylor on day two.

“He bowled like a genius,” Starc said.

“He has been building up through the series and that was obviously his best performance.”

Selectors were mulling whether they should drop Hazlewood for the three-Test series decider against New Zealand.

The beanpole grabbed only one wicket in the second Test, played on a flat WACA pitch.

“He probably hadn’t got the wickets he would have liked in the first couple of Test matches,” coach Darren Lehmann told ABC Radio.

“He started to bowl well in the second innings of the Perth Test and started to get his rhythm and bowl quite well.

“It was a tight call between him and James (Pattinson). Josh held on and bowled really well this time.”

AAP

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