Playing in an empty stadium has helped relax star Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins against New Zealand.
The teams will again battle behind closed doors at the SCG on Sunday as Australia seek to wrap up just their third ODI series from 11 starts.
With fans barred from attending the three-game Chappell-Hadley trophy contest because of the coronavirus outbreak, Cummins bowled brilliantly on Friday to claim 3-25 in Australia’s 71-run victory.
“It was certainly weird. Probably in some ways I just felt a lot more relaxed than an international game normally,” he said.
“It felt more like a (Sheffield) Shield game or even a grade game, which was kind’ve nice.
“You don’t get the chance as an international side to be able to talk to each other out there during the middle of the game and have it pretty relaxed.
“I actually enjoyed it, but it’s certainly different.”
The same pitch will be used for game two, but Cummins is confident the wicket will hold up well.
Australia started strongly through openers Aaron Finch and David Warner, but struggled to 7-258 batting first.
That below-par performance mattered little as Cummins, Mitch Marsh and Josh Hazlewood steamrolled the Black Caps for 187.
“No doubt it will turn a little bit more and be a little more tired, but I thought it was going to deteriorate a lot worse than it did,” Cummins said.
Pat Cummins joins the act with two quick wickets. Steve Smith takes a stunner at backward point to remove Guptill, before Neesham is bounced out for 8.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 13, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne (56) also continued his golden summer, registering his eighth score over 50 in nine international innings on home soil.
Since 2017, Australia’s ODI form has been patchy at best, with their only series wins coming last year away to India and against Pakistan in the UAE.
Finch’s team only recently returned to Australia following a deflating 3-0 series defeat to a young and inexperienced South African side.
“After South Africa, we were really confident going into that ODI series … but unfortunately we couldn’t get it done,” Cummins said.
“This would be a nice way to end the one-day cricket for a while.”
The Kiwis will keep an eye on quick Lockie Ferguson, who has been placed into isolation due to a sore throat following game one.
Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson missed the series opener after also suffering a mild sore throat, but was cleared of coronavirus after being sent for tests.
After Sunday’s match, the teams will head south for Friday’s final game in Hobart.