Cricket World Cup 2019: New Zealand XI push Australia in low scoring warmup match

Tom Latham is captaining a under-strength NZ side.
Tom Latham is captaining a under-strength NZ side. Photo credit: AAP

Outcasts no longer, Steve Smith and David Warner have been warmly welcomed back into the Australian fold.

The pair joined their teammates, as the side began their World Cup preparations with a nervous one-wicket practice match defeat of New Zealand in near darkness.

Chasing 216 at Brisbane's Allan Border Field, both were cheered to the crease as Warner (39) and Smith (22) rejoined the Australian order at number three and number four respectively.

The hosts were cruising early, thanks to Warner's bright innings, but were suddenly exposed, when Smith edged behind, with Australia still needing 89 to win.

It took some late hitting from Nathan Coulter-Nile (34), and a tense 11-run final wicket partnership between Adam Zampa and Jason Behrendorff that featured several big shouts for LBW, for Australia to scrape home with one wicket and 10 balls in hand.

Shaun Marsh (15) - in the side at Glenn Maxwell's expense - Marcus Stoinis (15) and Alex Carey (2) all failed to seize the moment, as shadows stretched across Allan Border Field.

Earlier, there were no heckles or abuse from the good-natured crowd of 1200 in an atmosphere starkly different to that predicted, when Australia opens its World Cup defence in England on June 1.

It was the pair's first appearance in green and gold since the Cape Town ball- tampering affair in March 2018 that resulted in year-long bans for the captain and vice captain.

Warner started nervously - he was dropped at gully off his third ball and almost popped a catch to point off his first ball - after Usman Khawaja (4) was bowled from the fourth ball of the innings.

But he exploded to life once he scurried through to get off the mark, pulling a six over midwicket, and peppering the boundary between point and mid-off with a series of immaculately-timed drives.

His impressive innings was cut short on 39, top-edging a reverse sweep to end a crisp 77-run stand with Aaron Finch (52).

It was a brief, but compelling case from Warner, as coach Justin Langer remains coy on which two of Finch, Warner and Khawaja will face the new ball against Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol.

Warm applause followed Warner to the crease, but it was nothing on the reception Smith received, as he replaced him in the middle.

Mitchell Starc (pec) was rested, while Kane Richardson, who isn't in the squad, went wicketless from seven tidy overs, when given the chance to press his claims for inclusion, if Jhye Richardson (shoulder) is unable to prove his fitness.

Pat Cummins, Berendorff and Coulter-Nile all took three wickets against an under-strength Kiwi unit, missing regular skipper Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Trent Boult - all still on Indian Premier League duties in India.

Cummins took two wickets in the first over, before a 137-run stand between Will Young (60) and Tom Blundell (77) ensured there was scoreboard pressure on the hosts.


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