Warner booed as Australia bat against England in World Cup warm-up
SOUTHAMPTON – Australia's David Warner was booed and heckled on Saturday in his first match against England following a year-long ban for ball-tampering.
Both Warner and former Australia captain Steve Smith only returned to international duty earlier this month after completing 12-month suspensions for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Their first match in England this tour was a hastily arranged, unofficial warm-up match against the West Indies on the nursery ground at Southampton.
But that fixture was played in front of fewer than 30 spectators whereas there were few thousand in the main arena on Saturday when Warner and Australia captain Aaron Finch walked out to open the innings after England won the toss.
The jeers that greeted Warner were audible, although the Hampshire Bowl ground was far from full, however.
And when the left-hander arrived at he crease, one fan shouted: "Get off Warner you cheat."
Australia are set to be in England for over four months on a lengthy tour that includes both the World Cup and the subsequent five-Test Ashes series.
A report in Thursday's edition of Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper said Warner's manager had sought security assurances from Cricket Australia, with the batsman's wife wanting to give birth to their third child in Britain.
Finch, speaking at this week's World Cup captains' press conference, said: "Once the World Cup gets under way and you start getting into the tournament, probably the game against England, and then further on the Ashes there's no doubt the crowd will start to play a bit of a part but that's expected.
"No matter where you go the fans play a big part."
Saturday's match saw World Cup favourites without captain Eoin Morgan after the batsman suffered a fracture to his left index finger during fielding practice on Friday.
Morgan, however, is expected to be fit to lead England in the opening match of the World Cup proper, against South Africa at the Oval on Thursday.
England, fresh from a 4-0 series win over Pakistan, left out Test skipper Joe Root, leg-spinner Adil Rashid and fast bowler Jofra Archer from their side on Saturday.
Root did not train on Friday following the death of his grandfather, Rashid has been managing a shoulder problem and Archer was rested.
World champions Australia opted to use 12 of their 15-man squad, with both Smith and Warner included.
But all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc missed out.AFP