Brisbane: Pat Cummins grabbed two wickets in his first over before a New Zealand XI recovered to make 215 in a one-day practice match 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 prefered to Nathan Lyon as the spin option.