Hazlewood looms as pink-ball menace for England: Khawaja

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja has hailed Josh Hazlewood as an even bigger danger under lights than pink-ball specialist Mitchell Starc for second Test in Adelaide.

Although Starc sent a chill down England’s spines in the day/night round of the Shield last month with his career-best first-class figures, it’s Hazlewood whom Khawaja believes will pose the most problems for Joe Root’s team.

With only one first-class match since breaking down in August, Hazlewood was below his best early in the first Test but his burst with the new ball on the third day crippled England’s top order.

“Josh is always one who is very dangerous because he can swing it back in and nibble it,” Khawaja said.

“When he’s on, he gives you absolutely nothing. He doesn’t give you anything to hit, he’s one guy who is always in the game.”

The Australian camp was rapt with Hazlewood’s performance in the second innings. The scope for improvement in his game is another reason why the home side has reason to believe they will be even harder to beat in Adelaide.

Khawaja has a point to prove this week after his frailties against spin were again exposed in Brisbane, this time by off-spinner Moeen Ali, who trapped him in front with the straight ball.

The dismissal was reminiscent of his troubles last year in Sri Lanka where he was dropped for the third Test. He sat out the entire series in India and was again dumped in Bangladesh after a poor display in spin-friendly conditions.

But the elegant No.3 does not believe he is vulnerable to Moeen.

“Sometimes you just get out. It’s cricket, it’s always going to happen. It doesn’t really bother me too much,” Khawaja said.

“I don’t think there’s anything too drastic I have to worry about, it’s one game. Every time I go out there I watch the ball and score runs, I’m going to do exactly the same thing going forward.”

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