Poms test takes Aussie preparations to next level

Captain Aaron Finch is confident Australia are on the right path towards retaining the World Cup after an excellent build up to the tournament.

A morale-boosting come-from-behind 3-2 series win in India, followed by first 5-0 whitewash away from home in 11 years against Pakistan, have confidence brimming.

Their belief has been bolstered further by the return of David Warner and Steve Smith.

The world-class pair have been the focus of the British media ever since the team arrived in the UK last week, following their 12-month bans over the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

The pressure is really turned up on David Warner and Steve Smith this weekend.Source:Getty Images

After a scratchy IPL campaign, Smith chalked off three successive 50s in warm-ups against New Zealand and West Indies.

Warner enjoyed a stunning IPL campaign where he scored 692 runs from just 12 innings – to win the Orange Cap for the highest run-scorer.

The pair are almost certain to get a red-hot reception on Saturday when they take on England in an official warm-up set to be a far cry from the low-key affairs against the Black Caps and the Windies.

A near-capacity crowd of 15,000 is expected at the compact Ageas Bowl and Finch has no concerns about how the duo will cope in a hostile environment.

“They have come back into the set-up for the last couple of weeks and been fantastic and they have contributed as much as they can,” the captain said.

Aaron Finch is pleased with Australia’s World Cup build-up.Source:AP

“Once it gets underway, particularly against England, and further on for the Ashes, the crowd will play a part but that is expected everywhere in the world.

“We have plans in place for that, and their squad input and output in terms of the runs they have been making has been fantastic.”

The togetherness of the team has been noticeable and something former captain Ricky Ponting has picked up on since linking up with the squad last weekend.

The last two trips to England have been disappointing for Australia, with their early exit from the Champions Trophy in 2017 followed by a humbling 5-0 Ashes defeat last year.

On both occasions there was a shadow hanging over the team with their bitter pay row with Cricket Australia dominating the conversation in 2017 and the fall out from South Africa stalking the side last year.

Ricky Ponting praised the mood in the Aussie camp.Source:AAP

But Ponting said the mood is now reminiscent of what he experienced in the three successful World Cup teams.

“I’ve only been here a couple of days but you can just tell there’s a lot of laughter, a lot of banter, there’s a lot of noise (in the change rooms) which means the boys are generally happy,” Ponting said.

“You generally get scared around teams when things are quiet and individuals are quiet, but I certainly haven’t seen that.

“Everyone is pretty upbeat at the moment understanding they’ve got a couple of months together and hopefully the best months of their lives together.

“Although I’m new to this group, feels very familiar. It feels like a lot of the teams that I was a part of as a player.”

Originally published as Poms test takes Aussie preparations to next level

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