AN END TO THEIR BAD DAYS

Aussies halt los­ing streak against the Proteas

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

AUS­TRALIA’S crick­eters ad­mit they are drained from a huge ef­fort to halt a de­mor­al­is­ing los­ing streak while deal­ing with in­tense scru­tiny over their poor form and the ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal.

They fi­nally snapped their seven-game run of lim­ited overs defeats thanks to a gutsy ef­fort from their bowlers in the sec­ond one-dayer against South Africa in Ade­laide on Fri­day.

Set 232 to win, the Proteas could only man­age 224-9 in their 50 overs, leav­ing the se­ries tied at 1-1 with the de­cider in Ho­bart to­day.

“We’re all bloody tired. All the bowlers are cooked,” said Mar­cus Stoi­nis, whose three wick­ets and run out of Ai­den Markram were cru­cial to the team win­ning af­ter an­other medi­ocre per­for­mance with the bat.

“It was a big ef­fort, so re­ally proud of ev­ery­one.”

Be­fore the game, Skip­per Aaron Finch con­ceded the scru­tiny of Aus­tralian cricket dur­ing re­cent months, in­clud­ing dis­ar­ray within the sport’s gov­ern­ing body, where a slew of ex­ec­u­tives have been forced out, was taking a toll.

He urged the play­ers to keep their fo­cus on the field and was proud of the way they pulled through.

“The way we de­fended was out­stand­ing, The bowlers were re­lent­less. Not sure if it’s re­lief, but jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for some hard work,” said Finch, who won man-of-the­match af­ter be­ing widely praised for the way he ro­tated his bowlers and placed the field.

Stoi­nis ad­mit­ted “it’s been a tough six months or so” and pointed to the team’s char­ac­ter as help­ing them deal with the hard times.

“At the end of the day, all the guys that are in that team fight so hard, want to be there so much, train so hard, think about cricket all day every day,” he said.

“I know ob­vi­ously we haven’t got the results that maybe the me­dia and the Aus­tralian pub­lic would want.

“But th­ese guys, we all fight, we all re­ally want to be there, we all re­ally want to win, and so the char­ac­ter of the in­di­vid­u­als speaks for it­self.”

South African cap­tain Faf du Plessis was fum­ing that his team failed to tighten the screws af­ter be­ing well placed at 66-2 in the run chase, but with the next match to­day said there was no time to dwell.

“It’s a tough pill to swal­low. The na­ture of the wicket and the game was we only needed fourand-a-half an over,” he said.

“But it’s a quick turn­around, so we have to leave our dis­ap­point­ment in the dress­ing room.”

EPA PIC

Mar­cus Stoi­nis in ac­tion dur­ing the sec­ond ODI against South Africa in Ade­laide on Fri­day.

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