Josh Hazlewood makes Test cricket history amid ‘horrible’ moment in West Indies clash

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Josh Hazlewood, pictured here dismissing Alick Athanaze.

Josh Hazlewood claimed his 250th Test wicket when Alick Athanaze left a ball that smashed his stumps. Image: Getty/Channel 7

Josh Hazlewood has claimed his 250th Test wicket against the West Indies at the Adelaide Oval, making the current Australian side the only one in cricket history with four current players to achieve that feat. Hazlewood got a ball to duck back slightly and smash into the stumps of Alick Athanaze, who inexplicably shouldered arms and let the delivery go, giving the Aussie bowler his first wicket of the innings.

Athanaze watched on in horror as the ball cannoned into his stumps, before making an embarrassing journey back to the pavilion. Hazlewood’s wicket was the 250th of his Test career, emulating the feat already achieved by current teammates Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon.

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When Hazlewood snared his 250th wicket, Cummins had 260, Starc 345 and Lyon 509. The prolific quartet were already the first foursome in Test cricket history where every member had at least 200 wickets – and now they’re also the only one with 250.

Hazlewood became just the 11th Australian in Test history to reach the 250-wicket milestone as he took 4-44 from 15 overs. Athanaze’s decision to leave the ball was labelled “horrible” and “soft” by commentators, with the Windies eventually bowled out for just 188.

Cummins also took four wickets (for 41) after he won the toss and asked the West Indies to bat first, marking the first time an Australian captain has opted to bowl first at the Adelaide Oval since 1980. He also became just the 10th captain in 82 Tests at the Adelaide Oval to win the toss and bowl first. Only one of the previous nine skippers went on to taste victory, and both times an Aussie captain did it they lost.

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The bold decision proved a masterstroke early as the Aussie bowlers troubled the tourists on a pitch with plenty of green tinges. “You used to always arrive at Adelaide Oval as an opening bat or top order batsman, if you win the toss it was a dream come true because there was no better place in the world to bat,” Justin Langer said on Channel 7.

“Then it deteriorated over time and became a lot harder to bat on (as the match went on). Pat Cummins has obviously seen the grass this morning and overhead conditions and decided (to bowl), which is most unusual.

“He keeps shocking us, Pat Cummins … to be fair to Pat Cummins he has had the Midas touch. He did it (bowled first) in the World Cup final and we were all surprised by that. Then he did it at the start of the summer, batted first in Perth on a wicket we were certain he would bowl first on.”

Pat Cummins, pictured here in the first Test between Australia and West Indies.

Pat Cummins celebrates the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite in the first Test between Australia and West Indies. (Photo by Mark Brake – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images) (Mark Brake – CA via Getty Images)

Brett Lee backed the call on Fox Cricket, saying: “I think it’s a great call, I think it’s the right call. Aussies to set the tone first and get that opportunity with this brand new ball.” While Michael Vaughan added: “It didn’t surprise me. There’s just enough there and against a team so inexperienced, I think Pat Cummins knows the pitch won’t deteriorate for a few days, so there’s a chance to put the West Indies under pressure with some early wickets.”

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