Steve Smith’s teammates paid tribute to their former skipper after he brushed aside abuse from the Southampton crowd to lead Australia to a 12-run victory over England on Saturday .
Although the match was only a warm-up fixture but it will surely boost the confidence of the Aussies ahead of the upcoming World Cup; Smith scored a brilliant century (116 off 102 balls) to put the rest of the globe on notice.
His celebrations to mark the century were muted, given it was not an official match, but while there was applause from the 11,500-strong crowd there were also plenty of boos from the stands.
While Smith laid the foundation for the win, it was the bowlers who sealed it with a disciplined display that kept England batsmen under control.
With Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins rested, Jason Behrendorff (2-51) and Kane Richardson (2-43) deputised superbly.
Spinners Adam Zampa (1-54) and Nathan Lyon (1-37) also bowled tidily with Jos Buttler (52) and James Vince (64) top scoring for the hosts.
Australia – 297/9 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 116; Liam Plunkett 4-69) , England – 285 in 49.3 overs (James Vince 64; Jason Behrendorff 2-43)
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
— Tom VVardle 📣 (@tomvvardle) May 25, 2019
Australia pull off annarrow win with splendid bowling in the death. So teams ranked no1 and 2 both lose their warn up matches. How much should one read in these results? I’d say it suggests a very open World Cup
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) May 25, 2019
Steve Smith ANOTHER 100. Goodness me this is ominous 🙌🏽 #CWC19
— Trent Copeland (@copes9) May 25, 2019
— Adam Crosthwaite (@AJCrosthwaite) May 25, 2019
— The Cricket Times (@CricketTimesHQ) May 26, 2019
AUSTRALIA in recent ODIs when 2-0 down during February's tour of India
Won: 4, Lost: 22 (15.4%)
AUSTRALIA in 50-over games since then (including practice games)
Won: 12: Lost 1 (92.3%)
England crowds booed Steve Smith (116 off 102), but he has the last laugh today.#CWC19
— Sam Landsberger 🗯 (@SamLandsberger) May 25, 2019
That's Steve Smith's fourth straight half-century since returning to the Australian side – 89*, 91* and 76 in his previous three knocks. Sure, they've all been practice games, but he looks in terrific touch #CWC19
— Louis Cameron (@LouisDBCameron) May 25, 2019
Four successive fifties for Steve Smith now, averaging 164* in 50-over cricket since his return! World Cup on notice. #AUSvENG
— Dave Middleton (@Dave_Middleton) May 25, 2019