Josh Hazlewood had to wait a while for his test debut but no one can accuse him of wasting his chance when it came after he became the 33rd Australian to take a five-wicket haul on debut in the second test against India on Thursday.
The 23-year-old paceman, who has long been compared to fast bowling great Glenn McGrath, was one of the youngest players to play one-day cricket for Australia when he made his international debut as a teenager in 2010.
He came close to making his test bow when he was 12th man against South Africa in Perth two years ago and was finally presented with his baggy green cap by McGrath at the Gabba on Wednesday.
On Thursday, he took three key wickets to add to his first two victims on day one, leaving him with figures of five for 68 as India were dismissed for 408.
“It`s pretty exciting times but I was just happy to do a job to be honest,” he said in a pitchside interview.
Excitement over emergence of a new test talent should be tempered with caution, however, given the experience of the last two Australians to take five-wicket hauls on debut, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.
Cummins, 21, has not played another test since taking 6-79 against South Africa at Wanderers in 2011, while 24-year-old Pattinson, who took 5-27 against New Zealand that same year, played the last of his 13 tests in March.
Both have struggled with back injuries and had their actions altered in order to improve their durability.
Hazlewood got an indication of just how gruelling test cricket can be on Wednesday when he suffered severe cramps and was forced to leave the field midway through his 16th over.
“It was quite painful, I’d never felt cramp like that before,” he added. “The heat was tough and all the bowlers suffered in some way so it was good to get out there today and knock them over.”
Hazelwood’s excitement at making his debut would have been matched by a group of his father`s friend`s, who all bet A$100 ($81) at odds of 500-1 the then 15-year-old would play test cricket before his 30th birthday.
“I don’t know much about it to be honest, my dad knows more,” Hazlewood shrugged. “A few guys put a bet on a while ago, I hope they get a few drinks out of it.”