Road to aton­ing for duo

Warner and Smith aim­ing to win fans

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - TRAVIS MEYN

STEVE Smith and David Warner are out to win over home crowds this sum­mer when they make their first Test ap­pear­ance in Aus­tralia since the ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal.

Smith made an em­phatic re­turn to the Test arena with a sen­sa­tional Ashes se­ries in Eng­land re­cently, de­spite be­ing con­stantly booed by ra­bid English fans.

Warner had a po­lar op­po­site se­ries, scor­ing only 95 runs in 10 in­nings as his Test fu­ture came un­der scru­tiny.

But Aus­tralia’s star bats­men are back to­gether at the Gabba in whites for the first time in two years and ready to kick­start the sum­mer against Pak­istan.

Smith, who av­er­ages 64.56, has been in re­mark­able form since his sus­pen­sion but said he may still have to win over Aussie fans.

“We’ll wait and see,” Smith said when asked what re­ac­tion he ex­pected. “I’m just ex­cited to be back play­ing here in Aus­tralia. I can’t wait, I’m look­ing for­ward to it.

“We had a pretty suc­cess­ful cam­paign in Eng­land, but to come back and play in front of my friends and fam­ily is go­ing to be a cool oc­ca­sion.

“You’ve got to keep striv­ing to be the best you can and en­joy­ing what you do. Right now I’m lov­ing what I’m do­ing.

“I can’t wait to get this Test se­ries started.”

Smith and Warner were sorely missed dur­ing the last Aus­tralian sum­mer.

They sat out Aus­tralia’s 2-1 Test se­ries loss to In­dia af­ter re­ceiv­ing sus­pen­sions, along with Cameron Ban­croft, for their role in the South African ball-tam­per­ing drama last year.

The scan­dal rocked Aus­tralian cricket like never be­fore, re­sult­ing in a front-of­fice clean-out and leav­ing the sus­pended trio shat­tered.

Smith and Warner made their Test re­turns in Au­gust for the Ashes and cap­tain Tim Paine said their pres­ence had lifted Aus­tralia.

“We cer­tainly en­joyed hav­ing them back last win­ter (in Eng­land),” Paine said.

“Steve has added a hell of a lot of runs, know-how and ex­pe­ri­ence and Dave’s the same.

“It’s re­ally crit­i­cal now that our young play­ers spend a lot of time with those guys and learn from them as much as we can.

“They have to try and em­u­late the things they have been do­ing. We’d like to sup­port Steve a lot more this sum­mer.”

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