Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has rated his teammate Josh Hazlewood as the best fast bowler in Test cricket today as he expects the Kangaroos to crack the Englishmen up in the upcoming five-match Ashes Test rubber, starting November 23.
Hazlewood is currently listed at number six on the ICC Test bowler rankings, headed by England’s spearhead James Anderson but Lyon believes the seamer’s repertoire and control make him the most potent in Australia’s three-pronged pace attack.
“I think Josh Hazlewood, in my book, is the best fast bowler in the world and by a long way,” Lyon was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au before Australia’s first major pre-Test training session at the Gabba.
“He can do anything. He’s quick, he can bowl bumpers, he can control the new ball, he can swing it in and out, he can reverse it.
“I haven’t seen a bowler who’s got that control in a long time,” he added.
England was decimated 0-5 in their previous Ashes tour in 2013-14 with the pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle along with Lyon ripping through the English line-up.
Lyon, who is the only member of the bowling attack from the previous series, hopes that the current pack consisting of Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird has the potential to repeat the feat.
“I think our bowling squad is actually quite strong, and it’s probably the strongest attack we’ve had in a couple of years if I’m being brutally honest,” Lyon said.
“To have these guys all up and firing together, it’s exciting. I’m very confident that our bowling squad can take 20 wickets.
“There are also some cracks underneath the surface with the (England) fellows who’ve come out here (in 2013-14). Alastair Cook, he faced Mitchell Johnson out here. Joe Root (current England captain) got dropped last time he was out here.
“So there are some cracks in the surface that we can hopefully crack them right open again and put them under pressure,” the tweaker predicted.
The first Test starts at the Gabba on November 23 followed by the historic day-night second Test at Adelaide from December 2-6.
The third game will be played from December 14-18 at Perth while the Boxing Day match will be hosted at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The final match will be held in Sydney from January 4-8.