David Warner (L) and Steve Smith (R) have served year-long bans for their part in a ball-tampering scandal. File photo/AFP
Pat Cummins grabbed two wickets in his first over before a New Zealand XI recovered to make 215 in a one-day practice match on Monday that marked a return to Australian duty for Steve Smith and David Warner after their ball-tampering bans.
A weakened New Zealand, missing Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Trent Boult, who remain on Indian Premier League duties, were on the ropes after their horror start.
But Tom Blundell led a fightback and top scored with 77 before they were all out after 46.1 overs.
Cummins ended with 3-36 off eight overs as Australia warm up for the defence of their World Cup title in England. Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff also took three apiece.
Skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bowl, with Smith and Warner picked for the first time since serving year-long bans for their part in the “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town that rocked Australian cricket.
After they were warmly welcomed by a small crowd, Smith celebrated his return with a superb one-handed diving catch at short mid-on to remove Tom Latham.
Warner, who usually opens, is down to bat at three with coach Justin Langer sticking with Finch and Usman Khawaja at the top of the order after the team’s recent red-hot form saw them win eight one-day internationals on the trot.
Smith will come in at four with Shaun Marsh at five. Glenn Maxwell was left out of the first of three games against New Zealand this week at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.
Fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who is returning from a muscle tear, was also overlooked while Adam Zampa was preferred to Nathan Lyon as the spin option.
Australian cricket chief Kevin Roberts insisted the return of Steve Smith and David Warner will not disrupt the resurgent team as a report on Friday revealed senior players threatened a boycott
Reigning champions Australia made one change after a surprise 10-run defeat by South Africa at Old Trafford, with the recently called-up Peter Handscomb replacing injured batsman Usman Khawaja.
Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was on Friday included in Australia’s 17-man squad for the five-Test Ashes series against England alongside Steve Smith and David Warner.
England are still basking in the glow of an epic World Cup triumph but if anything can throw cold water over their memorable summer it would be a first home Ashes series loss to Australia for 18 years. Battle commences at Edgbaston on Thursday and the last time Australia won there was the opening match
Each affair was won by a longshot trained by Salem Bin Ghadayer, topped by a win by lightly raced 7-year-old blueblood Firnas, who overtook Saltarin Dubai after a chess match-like edition of The Entisar.
Importantly, India have never lost a T20I series in Australia — they lost a one-off game in 2008.
A resolute Kane Williamson, despite being troubled with cramp late in the day, scored a gritty 97 to steer New Zealand to 243 for two on day one of the first Test in Hamilton on Thursday.