One-day internationals (3): Australia 3, New Zealand 0
A three-match series shoehorned into a six-day window might have appeared an inconvenience, but Steve Smith and David Warner were not fussed. Australia's batting giants flexed their muscles to devastating effect, helping their side regain the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in a clean sweep. In the 12 years since the trophy's inaugural match, in Melbourne, fitting it into Australia's packed schedule had proved troublesome - they hadn't played host since 2009. This resumption was partly a thank you to New Zealand for agreeing to participate in the first day/night Test, at Adelaide in November 2015, when Australia were keen to push the agenda. So it was fitting that these three one-dayers were wedged between two pink-ball Tests, against South Africa and Pakistan.
If that made Australia's preparation difficult, they did not help themselves. A few days before the series, Glenn Maxwell said that batting below his captain Matthew Wade in the Victoria team was "a little bit painful". Both men were in the Australia squad, but Maxwell was criticised for a lack of respect by Smith, the captain, fined by the senior leadership, and not selected; Wade played all three matches. Things were not ideal for New Zealand either. After celebrating a Test win over Pakistan in Hamilton, they crossed the Tasman Sea next morning, and had just two training sessions before the first match.
Whatever the scheduling issues, Australia coped much better. Their smallest winning margin was 68 runs at Sydney, where Smith took control with a superb 164. Then Warner, showing patience as well as power, hit back-to-back centuries at Canberra and Melbourne; he finished with 299 runs, the most for Australia in a bilateral series of three games or fewer. The Australians resisted the temptation to rest their Test new-ball duo, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, who snared six wickets apiece. With the speedy Pat Cummins returning from injury to grab eight, their attack was sharp and clinical.
Martin Guptill's brilliant century at Sydney aside, New Zealand were well below their best. They badly missed the batting and on-field presence of Ross Taylor, recovering from eye surgery. In his absence, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham rose to No. 4 and acquitted himself well enough, before a Starc bouncer at Canberra badly bruised his forearm and ended his series. New Zealand's fielding was uncharacteristically ragged, and their bowlers wilted in the death overs of the first two matches. They dropped a place to No. 4 in the rankings, while Australia stayed top.
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