Pres­sure eases on Aus­tralia af­ter ODI win, says Ha­zle­wood

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

MEL­BOURNE: Aus­tralia’s vic­tory over South Africa in a one-day in­ter­na­tional on Fri­day helped lift the pres­sure fol­low­ing a poor run of re­sults for a side com­ing to terms with plenty of off-field dis­trac­tions, ac­cord­ing to vice-cap­tain Josh Ha­zle­wood.

Cricket in Aus­tralia has been mired in con­tro­versy since the side were em­broiled in a ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal in South Africa in March, with a damn­ing re­port into the sport’s ad­min­is­tra­tion lead­ing to a slew of res­ig­na­tions

and sack­ings.

The team had also not won a lim­ited-overs match since Jan­uary, which may have been one of the rea­sons be­hind a crowd of fewer than 18,000 turn­ing up at the vast Ade­laide Oval to watch them set up a se­ries de­cider in Ho­bart to­day.

The seven-run win, how­ever, could be the cat­a­lyst for the team as they looked ahead to In­dia’s visit Down Un­der later in the Aus­tralian sum­mer, Ha­zle­wood told re­porters in Ade­laide yestr­day.

“It will prob­a­bly re­lax the guys a lit­tle bit, if any­thing,” the fast bowler said of the vic­tory, which snapped a seven-match los­ing streak in white-ball cricket. “It’s a lit­tle bit of re­lief, I guess.

“It’s a good step mov­ing for­ward to get one on the board... (but) we know one win doesn’t make a sum­mer. It makes to­mor­row (Sun­day) a pretty im­por­tant game for us to try and win the se­ries.”

Aus­tralia de­fended a mod­est 231 against Faf Du Plessis’ side at a more-than-half-empty Ade­laide ground that has a ca­pac­ity in ex­cess of 53,000.

“When­ever we play one-day cricket be­fore test cricket in the sum­mer, the crowds don’t tend to come as much as they do in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, when we’re play­ing one-day­ers,” Ha­zle­wood said.

“Maybe ev­ery­one is hold­ing out for the test match.” While cap­tain Aaron Finch had said be­fore the match that off-field is­sues may have been caus­ing “doubts” among his side, Ha­zle­wood felt the op­po­site was the case and they were just mak­ing sure they con­cen­trated on get­ting it right on the field.

“We’re ob­vi­ously aware of it, but I don’t think it’s a dis­trac­tion by any means,” he said. “We have been do­ing the right things at train­ing and are re­ally fo­cused on the process and (have) put re­sults a lit­tle bit out of our mind.” — Reuters

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