Port Kembla's Ralston leads Australian under 19 World Cup charge

Ashes hero Josh Hazlewood was man-of-the-match with the new ball, the last time Australia claimed the under 19 World Cup trophy. 

Fittingly enough, it was also played in New Zealand, where Port Kembla's Jason Ralston prepares to take charge when the tournament starts against India on Sunday. Back in 2010, Hazlewood snared 4-30 in the final, as Australia beat Pakistan by 25 runs to seal the title, helping to launch the careers of Warilla junior Nic Maddinson and then captain, now Test all-arounder Mitch Marsh. 

Hazlewood took 21 wickets in the four-nil Ashes demolition of England, which was complete on Monday at the SCG, as Pat Cummins (23), Mitchell Starc (22) and Nathan Lyon (21) ensured the Aussie attack was an irresistible force. 

Howzat: Josh Hazlewood. Picture: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

Howzat: Josh Hazlewood. Picture: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

It's just a dream for Ralston, currently playing for Eastern Suburbs in the Sydney competition, to one day stand in Hazlewood's position, leading the attack and wearing the Baggy Green in between overs. 

And yet, with three wickets in the 53-run victory over Sri Lanka, a warm-up match in Christchurch, Ralston shows the promise of spearheading Australia – also including Austin Waugh, the son of former Test captain Steve – to more under 19 World Cup success. 

Ralston, who finished with 3-36 off seven overs, had 2-15 off five, as Sri Lanka crashed to 6-64, before a lower-order fightback gave Australia a brief scare. 

The 2002 campaign produced Cameron White, Shaun Marsh, Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty and George Bailey, who scored a Sheffield Shield double century for Tasmania against NSW at North Dalton Park last summer. 

Australia also won back in 1988, which Stuart Law, Darren Berry and Allan Mullaly featured in, during the first ever under 19 tournament. 

Jason Ralston

Jason Ralston

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