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Josh Hazlewood’s received applause from both a small number of fans wearing yellow shirts and locals after claiming Kane Williamson’s wicket. It was unusual for an Australian to receive such acknowledgment in New Zealand, given Christchurch’s association with Sir Richard Hadlee, New Zealand’s legendary fast bowler.

Hazlewood’s performance on day one likened to that of Hadlee, with Christchurch cricket fans appreciating his metronomic, masterful, and relentless bowling style, resulting in figures of 5 for 31 from 13.5 overs as New Zealand dismissed for 162.

Despite sometimes being overshadowed by other Australian quicks, Hazlewood’s exceptional skills have been evident, even though he the last of the big three quicks to reach 250 Test wickets. Additionally, despite being the best T20 bowler of the trio in recent years, he is not the captain and has not seen the same financial success in the IPL.

Since returning during the Ashes in 2023, Hazlewood has demonstrated incredible durability, having missed just one Test. He has excelled, playing a crucial role in Australia’s fast bowling attack, bowling the most overs, the most maidens, and taking the most wickets – 34 at an impressive average of 13.70, with the best strike-rate and economy rate over seven Tests.

During the match at Hagley Oval, Hazlewood continued his outstanding form, putting Test batters through rigorous examinations with his fast bowling. In his second over, he repeatedly troubled Will Young and later found success against Tom Latham. Despite an unrewarded first spell, he adjusted his length in the second spell, targeting the Black Caps’ top batters with remarkable skill.

Hazlewood’s change of angle

Hazlewood’s change of angle and length proved decisive. By going around the wicket and adjusting his line and length, he created doubt in Latham’s mind, ultimately inducing an edge that led to his dismissal. This exceptional display of world-class bowling showcased Hazlewood’s skill and adaptability on the field.

Josh Hazlewood’s remarkable performance at Hagley Oval showcased his exceptional bowling skills. He strategically worked over batsmen with precise sequencing, making adjustments to exploit their weaknesses. His delivery to Rachin Ravindra from around the wicket resulted in a crucial wicket, demonstrating his ability to create pressure through tight line and length.

Even Daryl Mitchell, known for handling high-class seam bowling, countered by Hazlewood’s tactical adjustments. By varying his length and inducing edges, Hazlewood consistently troubled the New Zealand batters, leading to significant breakthroughs.

Hazlewood’s skillful bowling led to a collapse in New Zealand’s batting lineup, with the dismissal of Kane Williamson being a standout moment. He trapped the renowned batter lbw with a well-executed full delivery, further solidifying his impact on the game.

Although Mitchell Starc also contributed with crucial wickets, it was Hazlewood who rightfully earned plaudits for his exceptional performance, culminating in his well-deserved five-wicket haul. His impressive bowling has also contributed to a Test bowling average that has dipped below 25, reflecting his consistency and impact on the game.

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