Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood insisted it was a case of “forward and higher” after playing in a 19-run victory over world champions England in the first one-day international at Old Trafford on Friday. Hazlewood took a stingy 3-26 from his 10 overs max that stifled England from the start in pursuit of a target of 295, removing opener Jason Roy and Test skipper Joe Root for one-digit scores when the hosts went to 22-2 limped in the first 10 overs. This was Australia’s first 50-over match against England since a landslide eight-wicket defeat by their arch-rivals in last year’s World Cup semi-finals in Edgbaston.
However, Hazlewood did not play in that match after being controversially left out of the World Cup squad, with selectors instead wanting him to get fully fit after a back injury for the ensuing Test series in England, where Australia kept the Ashes in a 2-2 draw.
Asked if the way he bowled on Friday made his World Cup absence all the more painful, Hazlewood replied, “No, it’s forward and forward. It’s been a long time now, so I’m always looking ahead.”
The 29-year-old was nearly unplayable in a stunning two-wicket opening spell for five runs in six overs.
“England’s highest rank is probably the highest in the world in the last three or four years, so I think against them is a good measure of where you stand,” Hazlewood said after Australia’s third win in 14. ODIs against their oldest enemy.
“It was great keeping them at 20 for two in the first 10.”
Meanwhile, England captain Eoin Morgan said Hazlewood had enjoyed a “day out” after his side lagged 1-0 in a series of three games that continues on Sunday.
“They (Australia) were excellent, incredibly accurate and they got the ball moving,” he said. “It doesn’t often happen to us.”
‘Keep Stokesy’s Chair Warm’
Sam Billings kept England in the game with 118, his first ODI hundred, after sharing a century partnership with Jonny Bairstow (84) after the hosts collapse to 57-4.
Billings was the only member of the England XI on Friday not to be involved with the World Cup team, with his inclusion due to the fact that all-rounder Ben Stokes is still on compassionate leave with his ailing father in New Zealand.
Billings, reflecting on his “mixed feelings” in making a hundred in a losing case, told Sky Sports he would happily “keep putting scores on the board” after what was just his 19th ODI appearance in a five-year career in England.
However, the 29-year-old Kent batsman added, “I don’t think it matters how many runs I get, I know I only keep Stokesy’s chair warm for him.”
Morgan insisted, however, that Billings had hit brilliantly on the back of “sporadic” opportunities caused by the fact that, like Jos Buttler and Stokes, he had often been at number 6 instead.
“But today, he (Billings) really stood out in a place that is really hard to beat, that you can be thrown in in all the different circumstances,” Morgan said.
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