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It’s not quite David Warner vs Stuart Broad, but Australia might just have found Virat Kohli’s kryptonite hiding in plain sight.
Heading into the summer Pat Cummins was mooted as the hosts best answer to keeping Kohli quiet across formats and Adam Zampa in white ball cricket, but it is Josh Hazlewood who has come up trumps for Aaron Finch’s outfit.
Hazlewood found Kohli’s outside edge with a peach in the third one-dayer, removing him for a third time this series and a fifth time in a row across all formats when the two have both been playing.
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The streak started in Sydney in the final Test of the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar series, where he had Kohli caught down the legside, continued in Bangalore at the start of the year, where he bowled him, and carried on on these shores when he had the right-hander caught at midwicket charging a short ball that got big on him.
He knocked him over with another short ball on Sunday and then on Tuesday in Canberra he duped two edges out of Kohli in a row. The first, a knuckle ball that Kohli charged, fell short of the keeper. The second, a stock ball that got big on the maestro, took a feather that only Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell heard but that was all that was needed to send it upstairs where a feather on snicko ended Kohli’s ODI series.
In fairness to Kohli, he has averaged 57 across that period.
Hazlewood has been among Australia’s best bowlers in one-day cricket this year and has been the most successful quick from either side in a series that has favoured the batsmen.
Former Australian great Brett Lee pinned that success on the metronomic abilities of the beanpole quick.
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“He just doesn’t get bored,” Lee said on Fox Cricket. “You find some bowlers that get frustrated. I’ve been caught like that many times where you try to bowl too short, too full.
“It doesn’t matter what form of the game you play, whether it be T20 cricket, 50-over cricket or even Test matches, Josh Hazlewood has got that beautiful balance of being attacking enough but still swimming between the flags.”
A humble Hazlewood scoffed at the idea he had the wood on Kohli, pinning his success this series on old fashioned hard work.
“I wouldn’t say a hold on him,” Hazlewood said on Fox Cricket during a drink break. “Just lucky enough to get a few in the right area and just fortunate to get the edge through to Carey.
“It has been pretty hard work. I guess it’s about not trying too much, it’s about whacking the wicket and getting it through to keeper if you can with a few little change ups here and there. Just trying to keep it simple.”