Former Australia captain Mark Taylor said that the only surprise for him from day three of first Ashes Test at The Gabba has been pacer Josh Hazlewood bowling just eight overs throughout the day.
Hazlewood last bowled in the 29th over and did not bowl for the next 41 overs, including the final session till stumps came. His absence from bowling in that phase intensified talk of him being a possible injury concern.
“The only surprise is that Hazlewood’s only bowled eight overs. I don’t really know why Josh didn’t bowl in the last session, I don’t know if there’s an injury — he’s been out in the field so I don’t see any reason why. The fact that he’s only bowled eight when Pat (Cummins) and (Mitchell) Starcy have bowled in the teens is a little surprising, but that can sometimes be the way it goes,” Taylor was quoted as saying by Wide World of Sports.
Taylor was impressed by how skipper Cummins managed the side despite wickets not coming after England openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed were dismissed quickly. “This was always going to be the hardest time — when you’re trying to find wickets on flat pitches, and this is when it’s harder for a fast-bowling captain, and he’s been very open about that. But I like the fact that he bowled himself late on day three, looking for a wicket.
“Because what we don’t want to see is Pat not bowling himself enough, he’s the number one Test bowler.
“It was always going to be a bit harder today, but I think he’s done everything he could have done. I like the fact that he tried Labuschagne for a few overs, he did that at the right time. He got Nathan Lyon into the attack early on, which I liked, but unfortunately he’s not been able to get a wicket from either of his spinners, which is the worrying thing from an Australian point of view,” added Taylor, who played 104 Tests for Australia.
The 57-year-old felt that things aren’t going well for Lyon, chasing his 400th wicket in Test cricket. “What we’re seeing at the moment is that Nathan can’t seem to get the breakthrough, which is what you really want from your spinner, particularly on day three or four. There’s not a lot of turn, but there’s a little bit. And what you’re hoping for is a couple of wickets – you’re not expecting him to bowl you to victory like on a turning SCG pitch on day five, but at the moment things aren’t going for Nathan Lyon.
“He looks to me like he’s bowling going alright — he’s beating the bat enough. Dawid Malan a couple of times, went past the outside edge, but he just can’t seem to get that lucky break. All of a sudden he could have 403 Test wickets rather than 399. He’s just got to stay patient, keep bowling well, and hope that the gods look kindly upon him and his luck changes a little bit,” concluded Taylor.