Warner, Smith get new batting positions on return as Australia beat New Zealand

Warner, Smith get new batting positions on return as Australia beat New Zealand

David Warner hit a quickfire 39 and Steve Smith 22 Monday in their first appearance for Australia since a major ball-tampering scandal as the home team edged a second-string New Zealand by one wicket in a practice match.

The Australians were set a target of 216 at Allan BorderField in Brisbane as they warm up for their World Cup defence, and scraped homewith 10 balls to spare thanks to a tail-end rescue act.

They have now won nine one-dayers in a row, although thiswas an unofficial game and not counted as a full international.

Skipper Aaron Finch continued his rich vein of form with ameasured 52, but fellow opener Usman Khawaja fell cheaply — bringing Warner tothe crease, to warm applause from the crowd.

He survived a dropped catch on nought before clicking intogear and turning on the form that saw him average 69.20 in 12 innings in theIndian Premier League.

Warner hammered 39 off 43 balls before falling toleg-spinner Todd Astle attempting a reverse sweep.

That brought out Smith who started nervously before hittinga pair of boundaries. He spent 43 balls in the middle before being caughtbehind off Matt Henry.

It was the pair's first game in Australian colours sinceserving year-long bans for their part in the "Sandpaper-gate" ball-tamperingscandal in Cape Town that rocked Australian cricket.

After Smith departed, Australia lost five for 42 before animpressive 34 from Nathan Coulter-Nile helped steer them home.

Earlier, Pat Cummins grabbed two wickets in his first overbefore New Zealand, missing Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Trent Boult,recovered to post respectable 215 off 46.1 overs

Tom Blundell led the fightback and top scored with 77.Cummins ended with 3-36 off eight overs, with Nathan Coulter-Nile and JasonBehrendorff also grabbing three apiece.Australia play another two games against NewZealand this week before heading to England where they open their World Cupcampaign against Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol.

Greater Kashmir