Mon­key off some tired backs

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SUMMER OF CRICKET - BEN HORNE

AUS­TRALIA’S cir­cuit-break­ing vic­tory in Ade­laide has come at a cost, with match­win­ning all-rounder Mar­cus Stoi­nis con­ced­ing the in­tense scrutiny of the past 12 months had left play­ers “cooked”.

There was noth­ing glam­orous about Aus­tralia’s seven-run win in the sec­ond ODI against South Africa, but the ef­fort taken to break the worst los­ing streak in one-day his­tory in the midst of the off-field tur­moil has lifted an enor­mous weight from the shoul­ders of a des­per­ate team that had thrown ev­ery­thing at their cause.

An­other bat­ting fail­ure made it hard to get too ex­cited about a turn­around, but de­fend­ing such a sub-par to­tal of 231 only added to the tenac­ity of the fight and self-be­lief shown by Aus­tralia’s bowlers.

How­ever, three-wicket hero Stoi­nis out­lined the chal­lenges ahead by lay­ing bare the ex­treme toll this un­prece­dented pe­riod in Aus­tralian cricket his­tory had taken on the play­ers. The sum­mer is only two games old, and Aus­tralia ad­mit they’re fight­ing against a “men­tal drain.”

“We’re cooked right now and we just won. Maybe that’s part of it (with bat­ting woes), the men­tal drain,” said Stoi­nis.

“… maybe it’s the amount of noise that’s go­ing on, peo­ple are drained.

“That’s what we’ve got to work on. You’ve got to learn. Part of the art of play­ing in­ter­na­tional cricket is deal­ing with the noise.

“It’s just good to win.”

Mar­cus Stoi­nis cel­e­brates a wicket on Fri­day night.

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