Steve Smith put his lack of game time in the Indian Premier League to good use “working on a few things” that could play out well for Australia after he scored a well-timed half-century in a practice match smacking by India.
After Australian opener David Warner failed again, out for one after a duck in the first warm-up game, Smith helped rescue his team, making 57 from 48 balls after coming in in just the second over.
With questions over whether he holds his place in the team after Mitch Marsh was elevated to Smith’s No.3 position, the batting star showed his true worth to the team.
Smith spent another 18 overs at the crease, dismissed with just one delivery left in the innings after a 50-run partnership with Glenn Maxwell and then adding 76 in eight overs with Marcus Stoinis.
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While he didn’t hit any sixes, with Stoinis hitting Australia’s lone maximum for the innings, Smith hit seven fours in his long stay.
It was Smith’s first 50 since an unbeaten 86 for NSW in a one-day match in March after he was used just twice in the IPL by Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting.
Stuck spending most of his time in the nets during the month-long IPL stint, Smith said he put his time to good used and was “feeling good” ahead of Australia’s World Cup campaign.
“I feel like I have been hitting the ball really well,” he said after his innings.
“I haven’t obviously played too many games at the IPL, but I spent a lot of time in the nets working on things and getting used to the conditions, which has been nice.
“It’s a lot cooler than it was a month or so ago which is nice, but I feel like I am in a good place with my game and hopefully the guys have got a bit out of these last two hit-outs and are ready to go for game one.”
Australia lost the game, taking just one Indian wicket as they reeled in the total of 153 with 13 balls to spare.
Smith said while it was important for Australia to find its best and start with a win in the tournament opener against South Africa on Saturday, it might take some time to really get going.
“In tournament play you want to be playing your best cricket at the back end,” he said.
“But you want to be playing good enough to get to that point.”