Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood admits that he needs to be better with the new ball if he wants to make an impact in the remaining two Tests against the Proteas.
The four-match series is currently level at 1-1 with the Aussies drawing first blood in Durban before the home team fought back with a six-wicket victory in Port Elizabeth.
The surfaces in both games has been a touch on the slow side with pace bowlers who excel at reverse-swing doing most of the damage but Hazlewood is eager to do well in the third Test that starts at Newlands on Thursday.
The 27-year-old has taken seven wickets in the series so far, but has been far from his best.
Hazlewood said: “With the new ball [I have been] a little bit patchy I think. Durban probably wasn’t a great new-ball wicket.
“Obviously a lot of wickets were taken once it started reversing and the ball was a bit older and probably [Port Elizabeth] as well to a degree.
“It’s definitely something we can work on, we haven’t seen a heap of conventional swing. Might have been different if we’d bowled first in the Test just gone. But there might be a little bit more in Cape Town or Jo’burg, so working on that.
“The Ashes I felt like I bowled really well the whole way through and sometimes you’re just lucky if you get the nicks or you don’t.
“I think we had a lot of plays and misses in the first innings and on any other day they might have nicked them and it’s a different story. You’ve got to take the results out of it sometimes and focus on what you’re doing.”
With Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada banned for the remaining two games, pending an appeal, it is thought that the pitch at Newlands will have a bit more grass on it so the home team can take advantage of the skills of seamer Vernon Philander.
If the surface offers something more for the paceman, then Hazlewood himself can be as dangerous as Philander.
Asked what is he expecting from the Newlands pitch, Hazlewood said: “I haven’t played a Test match in Cape Town so I’m a bit unsure.
“It’s been different I think for a few different games. They might leave some grass on it for Vernon who is pretty good down there most of the time. Depends on what we find.
“Anything with a bit of grass is always good. You don’t come across it very often in Test cricket so would be good.”
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