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Poms vulnerable when Root fails: Hazlewood

By AAP Newswire

Josh Hazlewood feels Australia have exposed England's reliance on Joe Root, suggesting the Ashes hosts are "vulnerable" if their captain doesn't fire.

Hazlewood had Root out edging for a second-ball duck on day two of the third Test on Friday after igniting a collapse of 10-57 with the scalp of out-of-form opener Jason Roy.

Hazlewood has now dismissed Root six times in Tests, more than any other bowler in the world.

Root's elevation to first drop in this five-Test series has not gone to plan, much to the delight of Hazlewood.

"I certainly like him in there as early as possible," the paceman said.

"They follow him a little bit. He's the leader, he's the captain. He's got the best average, he's their best batsman going by numbers.

"If we can get him, I think they can be vulnerable at times. Same as any other team, if their best batter's out you feel a bit more relaxed."

Friday was a dirty day for Root, who dropped a sitter when Marnus Labuschagne was on 14 then watched the in-form batsman reach 53 not out at stumps.

Opinion was split in England about whether Root should return to No.4 after his attempt to shore up the wobbly top order failed.

"Joe Root is England's best player. Put him at four. Virat Kohli, where does he bat? Steve Smith, where does he bat? Joe is not finding batting as easy as he was a year ago," former captain Michael Vaughan said on BBC.

"All players go through periods like that. He's not seeing the ball as well as he was, that happens.

"It's only one position but it is a huge difference."

England's all-time leading run-scorer Alastair Cook, Root's predecessor as skipper, disagreed.

"I still think Joe Root at three is the right decision. He is England's best player," Cook said.