Injured Australian quick Josh Hazlewood is positive that he can make a comeback for the Boxing Day Test (second match) against South Africa, which begins at the MCG in Melbourne on December 26.
A side strain had seen Hazlewood miss the series-clinching win against West Indies and the first Test against South Africa at The Gabba that ended in two days. However, the pacer bowled in the nets at 90 per cent intensity on Sunday and is hopeful of returning for the Boxing Day Test.
“Everything is ticking along nicely and going according to plan,” Hazlewood told Channel Seven.
“If I’m ticking the box on the 24th and bowling two spells of four or five overs with a break in between, that’s the final tick we’re looking for, then I’ll be available for selection hopefully.
I’ll build it up over the next week and a half and tick the last box on the 24th hopefully. I’m not noticing the side at all, so fingers crossed,” he added.
The 31-year-old hinted at playing all three formats as a possible reason for the repetitive injuries.
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating period. Especially the red ball. The white-ball part has been going great. Maybe that’s the cost of playing all three formats and putting all your energy into every game you play,” he said.
“You don’t have that time to build your strength up or workloads up and get ready for a Test match. I might have to look at that and find a way around it somehow,” he added.
Australia will have a very tricky decision to make if Hazlewood is available after Scott Boland continued to maintain his unbelievable record in Test cricket with two impressive outings in the last two Tests. The hosts wrapped up the first Test against South Africa in two dramatic days which saw 34 wickets fall.