Watch: Steve Smith, David Warner make impactful return to Australian team

Steve Smith and David Warner (not pictured) played their first match in Australian colours since the ban. (Source: Cricket.com.au/Twitter)

Steve Smith and David Warner returned to the Australian cricket team setup after serving their one year ban for ball-tampering and it appeared that little had changed. Both went about their business without much fuss and had a role to play in the field and then with the bat. In the end, Australia XI beat New Zealand XI by one wicket in the World Cup warm-up game in Brisbane.

Warner smashed 39 with the bat, laced with six boundaries and a six, and Steve Smith took a brilliant catch in the field before mustering 22 runs in the chase.

Wearing the national colours for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town in March, 2018, Smith and Warner received a warm reception by a small crowd.

Former vice captain Warner, batting at number three behind openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja, suffered a nervous start and was dropped in the gully when yet to score in the unofficial match.

After reaching 39 runs from 43 balls, Warner top-edged a reverse sweep to be caught in close. Warner’s knock coupled with Khawaja’s failure at the top would be the discussion in Australia over who should open alongside Finch at the World Cup.

Batting at four, former skipper Smith was less assured with the bat, scoring 22 off 43 balls, but earned the applause in the field when he ped for a superb one-handed catch to remove Tom Latham for 13 off the bowling of Jason Behrendorff.

Set 216 for the win after bowling New Zealand out, Australia’s tail-enders held their nerve to close out the win, with Adam Zampa (11 not out) bringing up the winning runs with a four in the 49th over.

Aussie seamers Pat Cummins, Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile all took three wickets. New Zealand were without regulars like skipper Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Trent Boult because of Indian Premier League commitments.

For Australia, seamer Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell were rested for the first of the three unofficial warm-ups.

Smith and Warner, whose ball-tampering bans were lifted in late March, have been included in Australia’s World Cup squad and rejoined their teammates for a training camp in Brisbane on Friday.

Australia play their first World Cup match against Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol.

New Zealand XI: New Zealand XI: George Worker, Henry Nicholls, Will Young, Tom Blundell, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Todd Astle, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, Hamish Bennett.

Australia XI: Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa.

(With inputs from Reuters)