From the moment David Warner and Steve Smith appeared on the Southampton ground last night, the English fans kept booing the two Australians over their involvement in the ball-tampering saga in South Africa over a year ago.
Keep it up folks, you inspired Warner to 43 off 55 and Smith to 116 off 102 to score more than half the Australian total on the way to a 12-run win over England.
There was little in it, with both sides recording 22 fours and three sixes.
Sure there were key players missing – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Glenn Maxwell for the Australians, and Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Adil Rashid for England, with pacemen Matt Wood and Joffre Archer injured early in the game, but a win is a win in the lead-up to the World Cup.
Especially as England is the world number one ranked ODI nation, with Australia five behind India, South Africa and New Zealand.
But the Australians are the defending World Cup champions, and last night proved they are very capable of going back-to-back.
Smith was in total command, it was as if he’s never been away.
In his last four digs he’s constantly proved that with 89* and 91* against the Kiwis, and 76 against the Windies before last nights 116 – making it 372 runs for only twice out.
And last night he was controversially given out caught and bowled off the second last delivery of the innings, after playing shots all around the ground.
Warner looked set for a big innings as well until he was caught at the deep midwicket by Jonny Bairstow when it looked as though the ball was heading for six.
While Smith and Warner were major pluses, as was keeper Alex Carey with 30 off 14 batting seven, for some unexplained reason the batting order last night looked more like scrambled eggs.
Warner and Finch opened, the way it should be, with Shaun Marsh at three, then Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis and Carey.
Compare that with the line-up against the Windies in the previous warm-up game of Finch opening with Khawaja, Warner at three, Smith four then Marsh, Maxwell and Carey.
It will be interesting to see what the order will be for the last warm-up game against Sri Lanka when obviously Cummins, Starc and Maxwell must play.
Let’s get last night’s negatives out of the way starting with Smith dropping Jason Roy off the fifth ball of the innings from Jason Behrendorff with no runs on the board – a straight-forward first slip chance knee high that proved costly as Roy was around for another 69 runs.
Skipper Finch dropped the dangerous Ben Stokes at mid-on off Stoinis, but that wasn’t costly as Stokes was stumped off Nathan Lyon two balls later.
While Carey missed stumping James Vice off Lyon on 54, but that only cost ten runs.
Stoinis, lucky to be selected in the squad, made a hash of his batting chances by pottering to score just 13 off 22 when quick runs were required with Smith, and his bowling wasn’t up to standard with his only wicket caught by sub Maxwell in the deep heading for six.
And Coulter-Nile was hammered for 24 of one over by Jos Buttler – the scorebook reading 4 6 4 0 6 4.
The pluses, apart from Smith, Warner and Carey with the bat were Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Lyon with the ball.
Both put their hands up for the Sri Lankan game after Behrendorff claimed 2-43 off eight and Lyon 1-37 off ten.
Some of the recent selections have been of Michael Cheika quality, let’s see what surfaces for Sri Lanka tomorrow night.