Josh Hazelwood of Australia appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of Asad Shafiq of Pakistan at the MCG.
Josh Hazelwood of Australia appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of Asad Shafiq of Pakistan at the MCG. Michael Dodge

Hazlewood cracks a ton ... with the ball

CRICKET: Former Australian bowler Glenn McGrath says Josh Hazlewood can break his wicket-taking record after claiming his 100th Test scalp in day three of the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.

Hazlewood, who has been likened to McGrath, reached the milestone when he picked up a simple caught-and-bowled to get rid of Wahab Riaz for a three-wicket haul in the tourists' first innings at the MCG.

The New South Wales quick turns 26 on January 8 and became only the fourth Australian bowler to rack up a century of Test wickets aged 25 or under - the others being Graham McKenzie (23 years old), Shane Warne (24) and Craig McDermott (25).

Hazlewood has a long way to go reach McGrath's 563 wickets from 124 Tests, the fourth most in history and the most of any fast bowler, but the former Test star said he could do it if he managed his career well.

"The challenge is there. If he can get there and do that (beat his record), I'd be one of the happiest guys for him,” McGrath told cricket.com.au.

"Records are there to be chased down and be beaten and that (is a) little carrot to keep guys going.

"To play 100-plus Tests and get 560-odd wickets like I took, if he can get there, then he'd have done pretty well.

"He's only a young fella ... but it's up to him how far he goes.

"If he keeps up a good work ethic off the field ... to keep strong, to keep fit, if he does that and stays very disciplined, who knows where he could get to.”

Hazlewood is the 38th Australian to achieve a century of Test wickets.

Since his first cap, against India at the Gabba in December 2014, the New South Welshman has been the third-most prolific bowler in the world, his 100 wickets in 25 Tests trailing only Indian Ravichandran Ashwin (141 in 23) and England paceman Stuart Broad (104 in 28).

After rain delayed the start to day three at the MCG, Azhar Ali became the first Pakistani to score a Test double century in Australia before the tourists declared at 9-443 after lunch.

He finished on 205 not out, just three runs short of Sir Vivian Richards' highest Test score in Melbourne for an international player.

After losing Mohammad Amir for 29 - Mitchell Starc's first wicket at the MCG in a Test - Azhar combined for a run-a-ball century stand with Sohail Khan (65), who hit four sixes in his entertaining run-a-ball innings before being run out by Nic Maddinson.



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