Ashes 2015: Josh Hazlewood helps Australia beat Essex

Josh Hazlewood celebrates one of his four wickets on the final day at Chelmsford
Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood celebrates one of his four wickets on the final day at Chelmsford
Tour match, Chelmsford, day four of four
Australia 562 & 221: Clarke 77, Porter 3-42
Essex 414 & 200: Ten Doeschate 61, Hazlewood 4-42, Starc 3-26
Australia beat Essex by 169 runs

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood strengthened his claims for a place in the first Ashes Test with four wickets in the tour win over Essex.

Hazlewood took 4-42 and Mitchell Starc 3-26 as the Aussies beat Essex by 169 runs at Chelmsford for their second tour victory, following their Kent win. The Ashes begin on 8 July in Cardiff.

After Australia were bowled out for 221, Essex were set 370 to win.

But, despite Ryan ten Doeschate's 61, the home side fell well short on 200.

At 140-2, after a partnership of 97 with Ravi Bopara (42), Essex, although missing injured pair Nick Browne and Tom Westley, still held on to hopes of at least avoiding defeat.

But Starc struck twice, followed by three successive wickets for Hazlewood as Essex lost their last six wickets for just 60, being bowled out inside 49 overs.

Ashes Tests
First Test: Cardiff - 8-12 July
Second Test: Lord's - 16-20 July
Third Test: Edgbaston - 29 July-2 August
Fourth Test: Trent Bridge - 6-10 August
Fifth Test: The Oval - 20-24 August

In the end, Australia came through their four days in Chelmsford in fine fettle, but not without a few injuries.

Captain Michael Clarke suffered a painful blow to his hand, which followed Ryan Harris's late withdrawal from the starting XI at Chelmsford with a long-standing knee injury.

That led to Harris announcing his retirement on Saturday morning, after he learned that the injury would force him to miss the entire Ashes series.

Australia have called up Pat Cummins, who has won cap, to replace Harris in the tour party, leaving the choice of pace bowlers for Wednesday's first Test in Cardiff between Hazlewood, Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle. And neither Hazlewood nor left-armer Starc, who finished with match figures of 9-77 at Chelmsford, have done themselves any harm.

New Zealander Jesse Ryder smashed Josh Hazlewood for 26 off one over before losing his middle stump
Essex's Jesse Ryder smashed Josh Hazlewood for 26 off one over before losing his middle stump

Resuming on 212-8, Australia soon lost tail-ender Siddle for 19, bowled by Jamie Porter, who then collected his third wicket of the innings when Nathan Lyon was caught by Ten Doeschate for a second-ball duck, leaving Hazlewood unbeaten on 12.

Essex returned to the crease knowing that they were effectively already two wickets down without without the injured Browne (finger) and first-innings centurion Westley (ribs).

Makeshift opener Ryder soon set about the Australia attack, as Hazlewood was smashed for 26 off his first over - but he then enjoyed success when he trapped Jaik Mickleburgh leg before.

After Starc had removed Ryder's middle stump following the New Zealander's 37 from just 19 balls, Essex captain Bopara, who scored 107 in the first innings, joined forces with Ten Doeschate.

But Starc and Hazlewood did the damage before Aron Nijjar holed out to Chris Rogers off Lyon, the Australian spinner's consolatory first wicket of a match in which he went for an alarming 200 runs off 34.4 overs.