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India tour of Australia 2020-21 – Josh Hazlewood

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has said that “tiring out” Jasprit Bumrah will be the key for them in the upcoming four-match Test series at home against India. When India last visited Australia in 2018-19, they became the first Asian team to win a Test series down under. Bumrah was at the forefront of that success, taking 21 wickets at an average of 17. No other bowler got more wickets than Bumrah in that Test series.

“Bumrah is probably the standout. He is unique with his action,” Hazlewood told Hindustan Times. “He maintains pace very well throughout the day, and the whole series. He is probably the key. He can take wickets upfront or with the old ball. I guess it’s about getting lot of overs into him, try to tire him out in the first couple of games. That will be the key.”

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In 2018-19, India’s quicks outbowled Australia’s, with Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami combining for 48 wickets at an average of 21.62. On the other hand, Australia’s trio of Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins picked up 40 wickets at an average of 30.9.

Sharma, the most experienced seamer in India’s attack, is yet to join the squad in Australia after suffering an abdominal muscle tear during IPL 2020. He is instead training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, with a BCCI observer saying he’s “looking good”. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, and Navdeep Saini are the back-up seamers for India.

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The India quick had to leave the IPL after picking up an abdominal muscle injury

“They outbowled us the last time they came. That went a long way for them in winning the series,” Hazlewood said. “They have most bases covered with their quicks. If Ishant Sharma gets here at some point it will add to their strength. They are all a little bit different. For the last 10-15 years, Indian pacers have kept improving. Our batters will have to be on their toes to counter that.”

Hazlewood also reckoned that Virat Kohli’s absence will not hurt India “that much”, given the depth in their squad. The India captain will be returning home after the first Test in Australia for the birth of his first child.

“There are young guys coming through, players like Shubman Gill. He might get an opportunity,” Hazlewood said. Hardik Pandya had a great tournament [IPL] as a finisher in T20 cricket. He is one we have got eyes on. Rohit Sharma – he is a class batsman, sort of a careless guy.

“Then you have Pujara and Rahane. The top-30 Indian cricketers are here. We will have to try to outlast him [Pujara], I guess. He doesn’t mind waiting for the quicks to tire out. He is the old school Test batsman… once you are off that line and length, he will hurt you. It will be a challenge for us; don’t think Virat’s absence from the last three Tests will hurt them that much.”

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