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Hayden forging way back to top

21/02/2005 05:56:30 AM Comments (0)

Recalled opener Matthew Hayden believes his painful one-day axing will turn out a "blessing in disguise".

Hayden put his much-hyped dropping behind him with a measured 71 in Australia's series-opening win over New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday night.

On Sunday he admitted the omission from the world champions' team for the tri-series finals a fortnight ago reinforced his desire to play for Australia.

"If nothing else it was an opportunity to just not play and I think there's one thing I realise and that's how much I love playing for Australia," he said.

"That's something I wasn't willing to give up.

"That way it feels pretty good to actually sit back and take a bit of a break. It might be a blessing in disguise.

Hayden's limited-overs career hung in the balance after he scored only 180 runs in 10 innings over five months before being dumped for Michael Clarke as opener in the tri-series deciders against Pakistan.

On his selection in the trans-Tasman tour squad, Hayden said he was hungrier than ever for runs.

His 109-ball knock, which featured seven boundaries, on a challenging low, slow pitch, may have been the entree.

There was a certain symmetry to his recall as Westpac Stadium also witnessed his return to international cricket five years ago after four years in the wilderness.

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