November 10, 2018 / 5:59 AM / 8 months ago

Cricket: Pressure eases on Australia after ODI win, says Hazlewood

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - 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.

FILE PHOTO: Britain Cricket - England v Australia - 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Group A - Edgbaston - June 10, 2017 Australia's Josh Hazlewood celebrates taking the wicket of England's Joe Root Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic/File photo

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 on Sunday.

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 on Saturday.

“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.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O'Brien

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