Australian player Steve Smith bats during the second of three warm up matches against New Zealand in Brisbane on Wednesday. Patrick Hamilton/AFP
Steve Smith hit an attractive unbeaten 89 but David Warner was out for a duck as Australia made 277 for six against a New Zealand XI in a World Cup warm-up on Wednesday.
Usman Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell were also among the runs, scoring 56 and 52 respectively, but it was former skipper Smith who was the star attraction.
After being dismissed for 22 in his return to Australian colours on Monday after a year-long ban for ball-tampering, he made the most of his opportunity in the second of three “unofficial” one-dayers in Brisbane.
Smith came to the crease when Shaun Marsh was out for 28 and was in fine touch, stroking an array of fours and sixes, in a major boost for Australia ahead of their World Cup defence in England.
Warner, who made 39 on his return from the “Sandpapergate” scandal, didn’t fare as well.
He opened the innings with Aaron Finch, rather than Khawaja, but was soon back on the sidelines after spooning a catch to cover without scoring, lasting just six balls.
Meanwhile, pace spearhead Mitchell Starc will make his long-awaited bowling return as New Zealand attempt to chase down 278 at Allan Border Field.
Starc has missed three months of cricket with a muscle tear, but was recalled for his first game since the Sri Lanka Test series.
Australia won the first of the three-match practice series, where games are not counted as full one-day internationals, by one wicket.
Australia’s cricketers were headed on Saturday to the battlefields of Gallipoli for inspiration to kick off a gruelling four-month tour taking in the defence of their World Cup crown and an Ashes series.
A sun-drenched day and baking hot temperatures made batting first in the day/night fixture an understandable decision.
A rampant Australia defeated Pakistan by 20 runs in the fifth ODI to complete a 5-0 clean sweep in the five-match series in Dubai on Sunday.
India skipper Virat Kohli said on Sunday the team’s “hunger” to keep improving has led to their record 11th-straight Test series win at home after outplaying South Africa by an innings and 137 runs.
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