BRISBANE – David Warner hit a quickfire 39 and Steve Smith 22 on Monday in their first appearance for Australia since a major ball-tampering scandal as the home team edged a second-string New Zealand side by one wicket in a practice match.
The Australians were set a target of 216 at Allan Border Field in Brisbane as they warm up for their World Cup defence, and scraped home with 10 balls to spare thanks to a tail-end rescue act.
They have now won nine one-dayers in a row, although this was an unofficial game and not counted as a full international.
Skipper Aaron Finch continued his rich vein of form with a measured 52, but fellow opener Usman Khawaja fell cheaply – bringing Warner to the crease, to warm applause from the crowd.
He survived a dropped catch on nought before clicking into gear and turning on the form that saw him average 69.20 in 12 innings in the Indian Premier League.
Warner hammered 39 off 43 balls before falling to leg-spinner Todd Astle attempting a reverse sweep.
That brought out Smith who started nervously before hitting a pair of boundaries. He spent 43 balls in the middle before being caught behind off Matt Henry.
It was the pair's first game in Australian colours since serving year-long bans for their part in the "Sandpaper-gate" ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town that rocked Australian cricket.
After Smith departed, Australia lost five for 42 before an impressive 34 from Nathan Coulter-Nile helped steer them home.
Earlier, Pat Cummins grabbed two wickets in his first over before 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 Jason Behrendorff also grabbing three apiece.
Australia play another two games against New Zealand this week before heading to England where they open their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol.AFP