Josh Hazlewood admitted he was surprised by the dire financial situation Cricket Australia (CA) reportedly finds itself in, but said players were ready to play their part.

CA announced last week it was standing down most of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cricket is just the latest sport to be impacted financially by COVID-19 despite getting through most of its scheduled fixtures for this season in Australia.

Australia paceman Hazlewood said news of CA's financial position was surprising.

"It probably took me a little bit by surprise," he told reporters via video on Monday.

"Just due to the fact that it's probably happened at the perfect time, this pandemic, for Cricket Australia I guess. It happening in March compared to the footy codes who are really in some trouble heading into their season, a little bit surprised there.

"But there's going to be some impacts no doubt, we're no different from any other sport and I guess it depends how long it hangs around as to how much it's going to affect us I guess.

"If it leads into next summer it can be quite serious so obviously playing it by ear at the moment and we'll see where we end up."

Hazlewood said the players were prepared to do what was needed amid the financial worries.

"We're obviously partners in the game and we've always said that. We've ridden the highs and now is probably the time to ride the lows a little bit," he said.

"We've always said we're partners in the game and see what it comes to and we'll obviously play our part."

Birthday boy Josh Hazlewood's three-ball cameo put the seal on a fifth Big Bash League win on the bounce for Sydney Sixers as they beat Adelaide Strikers by two wickets.

The Australia star sent all three of the balls he faced to the boundary to get his side over the line with eight balls remaining.

It came after the Strikers had posted a sub-par 135 all out on home soil, Jake Weatherald (47) and Alex Carey (32) the only men to do any real damage with the bat.

Although no Sixers players could match either of those efforts, Hazlewood was one of seven to reach double figures in a more robust team innings.

HAZLEWOOD CELEBRATES IN STYLE

The Sixers were ahead of the rate but running out of wickets when Hazlewood came to the crease with eight down.

Unflustered by the precarious situation, Hazlewood set about ruining former Australia team-mate Peter Siddle's bowling figures in the penultimate over.

Having got on strike in the second ball of Siddle's set, Hazlewood quickly got into the groove and cut his mate to the rope for the first of three fours on the bounce.

It was a fitting way to celebrate his 29th birthday, with his bowling figures of 1-19 off four overs proving pretty useful, too.

 

JAKE CAN'T WEATHER THE STORM

Weatherald's knock made him the game's top scorer, but it came in a losing effort.

He played fluently in a 31-ball innings that featured seven fours and a maximum before Tom Curran's superb yorker brought the Weatherald show to a close, the bowler posting figures of 4-22.

His departure put the brakes on Adelaide's progress as nobody down the order could match Weatherald's strike rate.

 

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

It may not have been the plan, but the Sixers ended up sharing the runs around in pursuit of what was a pretty modest target.

James Vince's 27 was the biggest contribution, with Curran rounding out a superb day by adding 21 with the bat.

It was Curran's dismissal, Harry Conway's yorker giving him a taste of his own medicine, that led to Hazlewood's introduction and he put the icing on the cake.

Glenn McGrath believes Australia's bowlers are up there with the best attack they have ever had.

Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon all made an impact when Australia beat New Zealand at Perth Stadium to seal the on-going three-Test series with a game to spare.

Pattinson got his chance after Josh Hazlewood limped out of the first Test with a hamstring injury, giving another demonstration of Australia's strength in depth. 

McGrath spearheaded a formidable Australia attack that included Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Shane Warne and he does not rate that unit as being any better than the current crop.

Speaking on the eve of the Pink Test at the SCG, which generates funds for the McGrath Foundation, the former seamer said: "They are right up there, without a doubt, their stats prove that.

"They are forming an attack that can compete with any era of Australian cricket.

"That spell on the day three [in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG] with Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, the way they bowled in tandem, was as good a fast bowling as you'll see anywhere in the world.

"To have Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood as well, four quality bowlers, throw in Nathan Lyon as well, it's as good a bowling attack as we've had.

"A lot people say New Zealand has been disappointing but I think a lot of that has been because of the way our bowlers have bowled.

"In Australian conditions they are tough to face, they will be tough to face anywhere in the world but especially at home."

New Zealand called up uncapped batsman Glenn Phillips on the eve of the final match of the series as cover for Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls, who have been laid low by illness.

James Pattinson is set to make his return for Australia's Boxing Day showdown against New Zealand, according to head coach Justin Langer.

Pattinson missed the Test series against Pakistan after he was suspended for the opening match in November due to a level two breach of Cricket Australia's code of conduct for abuse of an opposition player in the Sheffield Shield.

But the Victoria paceman is poised to replace injured quick Josh Hazlewood for the second Test against New Zealand at the MCG in Melbourne, despite Peter Siddle being drafted into the squad.

"I am really looking forward to seeing Patto bowl and bowl well in this Boxing Day Test, which is his home ground as well," Langer told 6PR on Saturday.

"James Pattinson was 12th man in the last game and I hope what I have shown in the last 18 months is that we have been really consistent in our selection.

"He's been unlucky, he only played a couple of Tests in the Ashes and he is so hungry like Mitchell Starc.

"The way he has come back from playing [two] Tests in the Ashes has just been brilliant."

Australia can wrap up the three-Test series following their 296-run rout of the Black Caps in Perth.

All eyes will be on the MCG pitch when Australia and trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand do battle, starting Thursday.

MCG curator Matt Page has come under fire after a Sheffield Shield match was abandoned due to an unsafe surface earlier this month.

"I know they are going to be under some pressure, there is no doubt about that," Langer said. "But I also know that Matt Page is an incredibly hard worker.

"They got it wrong in the last Shield game, but they were getting it right for the two Shield games before.

"He'll have some nervous nights Pagey, but I am confident he will get a good wicket up."

In-form Australia star Marnus Labuschagne is in line to make his ODI debut as part of seven changes for next month's tour of India.

An established Test member, uncapped ODI batsman Labuschagne is part of a 14-man squad set to face India in a three-match series, starting January 14.

Led by assistant coach Andrew McDonald as Justin Langer rests, the Australia team also includes Josh Hazlewood, despite the paceman sitting out the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand due to a hamstring injury.

However, there is no room for seven players that featured in the Cricket World Cup semi-final loss to England – Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Lyon, while Jason Behrendorff is injured.

"As one of the leadership group it's important to show that not only are we focused on getting the balance right for the players but equally the coaches and staff, head coach included," Langer said.

"'Macca' is an exceptional coach in all forms of the game and has been fantastic since coming on board. He will do a great job with this squad. We are in very, very good hands."

National selector Trevor Hohns added: "The performance of our white ball squads has been strong, and we are hoping to build the momentum towards the T20 World Cup at home at the end of the year and ultimately build towards the 2023 ICC World Cup in India.
 
"The performance of the top order at home through the T20 Series was very strong so we look for that to continue in the Indian ODI series. We also believe Marnus Labuschagne is ready for his international white ball debut after his strong form for Queensland in this form of the game."

Australia will face India in Mumbai before matches in Rajkot (January 17) and Bengaluru (January 19).

 

Australia squad for India tour: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Australia have called in veteran bowler Peter Siddle to replace Josh Hazlewood for the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand.

Selectors have turned to local Victoria paceman Siddle for the Melbourne showdown after Hazlewood injured his hamstring in Perth.

Siddle is the only addition for the second Test at the MCG following Australia's 296-run rout of the Black Caps in the series opener at Perth Stadium.

The 35-year-old – a veteran of 67 Tests and 221 wickets – featured in the Ashes in England, though he has not played a home Test since November 2016.

"He is a proven Test match performer with an exceptional knowledge of the MCG which will be a valuable part of our preparation," said national selector Trevor Hohns.

 

Australia squad: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Michael Neser, Peter Siddle.

Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood will miss the Boxing Day Test after injuring his hamstring in Perth, coach Justin Langer confirmed.

Scans revealed Hazlewood suffered a low-grade tear during his opening spell on the second day of the first Test against New Zealand.

The 28-year-old lasted just eight deliveries, taking the wicket of Jeet Raval, before being forced from the field.

Langer ruled him out of the MCG clash and suggested Peter Siddle could rival James Pattinson and uncapped seamer Michael Neser for Hazlewood's spot.

"Without doubt, Patto and Michael Neser, they'll be in the squad 100 per cent and we'll look whether we replace Josh with another fast bowler," Langer told reporters.

"The obvious one would be Peter Siddle, actually. He did a really good job in the Ashes, he's bowling very well for Victoria and it's at the MCG, where he's played a lot of cricket.

"We'll see what happens the rest of this game and then make a decision."

Australia will expect to take a 1-0 series advantage to Melbourne after building a 417-run lead by stumps on day three at Optus Stadium.

The hosts are set to resume at 167-6 in their second innings after skittling the Black Caps for 166 on Saturday.

Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood will not bowl for the remainder of the first Test against New Zealand in Perth.

Hazlewood suffered a hamstring strain during day two and Australia confirmed on Saturday the 28-year-old would not bowl for the rest of the Test.

He bowled just eight deliveries, taking the wicket of Jeet Raval (1), before the injury.

Matthew Wade was used for two overs by Australia, who had reduced New Zealand to 129-6 in response to their 416 to begin day three.

Both teams are a bowler down for the Test, with Lockie Ferguson having suffered a calf strain on day one for the Black Caps.

Steve Smith produced a stunning one-handed catch to remove Kane Williamson on the second day of Australia's first Test against New Zealand, though Mitchell Starc always expected his brilliant team-mate to take the chance.

Starc finished with 4-31 from 11 overs at stumps as the Black Caps were reduced to 109-5 in reply to Australia's first-innings total of 416.

While Ross Taylor will resume on 66 not out on Saturday, Australia have already got the key wicket of Williamson, who fell for 34 when Starc and Smith combined in spectacular fashion.

Former Australia captain Smith flung out his right hand to take a remarkable diving grab at second slip, not that the bowler of the delivery shared the crowd's amazement.

"Unfortunately for him, you sort of expect that from Steve," Starc explained to reporters.

"He's done that a few times. It was fantastic to create that buzz in the crowd and certainly out on the ground for us.

"The big wicket of Kane - being the captain as well - to hang onto him was a big moment in tonight's session.

"It was a fantastic catch, and it's always nice to see the boys hang on."

Starc added: "It happens pretty quick. It was a special grab.

"He's such a good player, whether it be with bat or in the field, you almost, unfortunately for him, expect that he's going to hold onto those nine times out of 10."

It was not all plain sailing for the hosts, who lost Josh Hazlewood to a suspected hamstring injury after he had bowled just eight balls - one of which clattered into opener Jeet Raval's stumps.

The extent of Hazlewood's problem is due to be confirmed on Saturday, with Starc already facing up to the possibility of Australia being one bowler down for at least the remainder of this Test.

"It's never nice seeing anyone go down, especially one of your best mates," Starc added.

"I'm not sure how those scans have come back, hopefully there's some positivity out of that. I guess it makes it tough now with a bowler down. It was for the Kiwis with [Lockie] Ferguson going down.

"The plus side is we've got them five down tonight and hopefully for Josh it's not too bad and, if it is going to keep him out for the rest of the week, it's not too big a break to get that hammy right."

Starc shone with the pink ball in the day-night Test, though admitted he still prefers all-day matches.

Asked whether he wanted all Tests to be day-night encounters given his performance, Starc replied: "Nope. Don't overdo it, I'd say.

"It's great for cricket but I'm still a traditionalist at heart. Don't take too many away from the red-ball game."

Mitchell Starc put Australia in command in the absence of Josh Hazlewood while Steve Smith took a sensational catch to leave New Zealand in big trouble on day two of the first Test.

Marnus Labuschagne fell for 143 after making his third consecutive Test century on the opening day at Perth Stadium, and Travis Head struck 56 in Australia's 416 all out.

Neil Wagner (4-92) and Tim Southee (4-93) stepped up again with Black Caps debutant Lockie Ferguson unable bowl due to a calf injury sustained on Thursday.

New Zealand lost both openers inside two overs of their reply, but their trans-Tasman rivals suffered a big blow when Hazlewood ambled off with a suspected hamstring injury after dismissing Jeet Raval. 

Starc came to the fore late in the day-night contest on Friday, Smith diving to remove Williamson (34) in spectacular fashion as the left-arm paceman took 4-31 to reduce the tourists to 109-5 at stumps.

Ross Taylor will resume on Saturday unbeaten on 66 with New Zealand trailing by 307 and BJ Watling yet to get off the mark.

Labuschagne put away a couple of glorious drives after Australia resumed on 248-4, but Wagner ended his fifth-wicket stand of 76 with Travis Head by bowling the in-form number three around his legs.

Head looked in great touch in a positive knock, finding the boundary frequently before driving Southee to Mitchell Santner in the covers.

The Black Caps bowled with discipline after lunch, and Raval, used more than he would have anticipated in the absence of Ferguson, dismissed Pat Cummins for 20.

Starc added a brisk 30, smashing Santner for six over long-on, and captain Tim Paine a patient 39 before both were dismissed by Southee, with Australia all out on the stroke of tea.

New Zealand got off to a nightmare start to their reply under the lights, Tom Latham caught and bowled by Starc without scoring in the first over and Hazlewood cleaning up Raval with only his fourth ball.

Taylor joined Williamson at the crease with the tourists in the mire on 1-2, and they would have been relieved to see Hazlewood walk off after pulling up in his second over.

The current and former captain had to contend with some hostile short stuff from Cummins and Starc, but they weathered the storm under pressure and Taylor struck Nathan Lyon for three boundaries in an over.

There was no review from Australia when Williamson appeared to feather Cummins behind, but Smith took off to his right to grab a stunning one-handed catch to remove the prolific skipper - ending a stand of 76.

Although Taylor brought up a hard-earned half-century, Starc strangled Henry Nicholls caught behind down the leg side and generated late swing to bowl nightwatchman Wagner first ball in a great spell to leave New Zealand on the ropes.

Josh Hazlewood hopes his dismissal of Babar Azam can set the tone for the series after Australia dismissed Pakistan for 240 on day one of the first Test.

Babar is a man in form but survived just four deliveries before falling victim to a full and wide one from Hazlewood, edging into the hands of Joe Burns at first slip.

It was an ill-judged shot that limited Babar's first-innings contribution at the Gabba to just one run, and Hazlewood wants to restrict his input across both matches.

"It's huge to try to stay on top of him, for sure," Hazlewood said, having helped to check Pakistan's progress after they reached 75 without loss in Brisbane.  

"He's probably coming off T20 cricket as well and we know he's a stroke-maker and he certainly likes to put the pressure back on you as a bowler. 

"I feel if you can get him early, you can get a rash shot like that sometimes.

"If he drives for four, he's sort of away as well in his game. So it can go both ways there, but we were lucky enough to get the nick and hopefully stay on top of him for the series."

Hazlewood claimed figures of 2-46, while Mitchell Starc starred with the ball as he took 4-52.

Among Starc's scalps was Naseem Shah, Pakistan's 16-year-old debutant who had earlier dug in to deny the bowler a hat-trick.

Naseem, far more at home with the ball in hand, will now hope to stifle the hosts' reply on Friday. 

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins starred as Australia knocked over Pakistan on the stroke of stumps on day one of the opening Test.

Starc claimed four wickets – including the final dismissal of the innings – and Cummins finished with three as Pakistan were bowled out for 240 at the Gabba on Thursday.

After losing five wickets in a middle-session collapse, Pakistan battled back via Mohammad Rizwan (37) and Yasir Shah (26) until losing 0-3 as Australia made the most of the second new ball in Brisbane.

Pakistan batted first after winning the toss, and it looked to be a wise decision as the tourists frustrated Australia's attack.

Despite a couple of early shouts, Pakistan impressed with captain Azhar Ali (39) and Shan Masood (27) at the crease – the pair making it to lunch unscathed on 57-0.

Azhar and Shan became the first tourists to bat through the opening session of a Test at the Gabba without lunch.

But Australia turned the screws on Pakistan after lunch as Josh Hazlewood (2-46), Cummins (3-60) and Starc (4-52) ripped through the top order.

After Pakistan reached 75-0 shortly after the break, Australia took 4-3 in a stunning seven-over blitz – Cummins setting the tone.

Cummins, the world's number one Test bowler, made the breakthrough with an angling delivery, which removed Shaan, who edged through to Steve Smith at slips.

The floodgates opened from that point as Hazlewood struck to dismiss Azhar – his 100th Test wicket on Australian soil – and then Babar Azam (1).

Starc sent Haris Sohail back to the pavilion caught behind for one, while Iftikhar Ahmed (7) was the last wicket to fall before lunch after inside-edging a Nathan Lyon (1-40) delivery to Marnus Labuschagne.

Resuming on 125-5 following tea, Rizwan came out with intent – hitting Cummins for three boundaries in one over.

Rizwan, however, was unfortunate after he was controversially caught behind on a Cummins delivery which appeared to be a no-ball.

But Pakistan dug deep and looked set to see out the day with four wickets in hand, until Australia took the new ball and Starc claimed back-to-back scalps as the lights came on, with 16-year-old debutant Naseem Shah (7) preventing a hat-trick prior to being caught and bowled at the death.

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