Smith hits top gear as Australians warm-up with victory

Steven Smith drives square through the off side Getty Images

Steven Smith maintained a promising run of scores ahead of the World Cup by guiding Australia to a comfortable warm-up match victory over the West Indies in Southampton. This was after Usman Khawaja sent a scare through the camp when he was struck on the helmet by Andre Russell.

On his way to 76 batting at No. 4, Smith added 53 with his captain Aaron Finch and 109 with Shaun Marsh, who then formed a union with Glenn Maxwell to glide the Australians past their target of 230 with 11.3 overs to spare.

It was Smith's third half-century in as many practice games, having also batted effectively against New Zealand XI in Brisbane before the team's departure for England, via Gallipoli.

"It's certainly the best seat in the house, he's going fantastically since he's come back in and it's great to see him come in, score some runs and no doubt he's ready for a big tournament," Marsh said of Smith. "I don't really speak too much out there but he's obviously got a great understanding of the game and you try to feed off that, so he's been fantastic to bat out there today and I've always enjoyed batting with him so it's good fun.

"He's come back in and done what he usually does, score runs, so it's fantastic to have them both back in the team and they're both really valuable players for us. [Smith] has been fantastic since our camp for New Zealand and the way he batted up there, and to come out and bat like he did today was fantastic for us."

Khawaja had earlier gone to hospital for scans on his jaw after suffering a nasty blow from Russell's bouncer. The opener retired hurt and looked to be in some discomfort, indicating an area on the right side of his head as he walked off the field accompanied by Australian team doctor Richard Saw. He did not take any further part in the match, but was later cleared of any structural damage. Khawaja was expected to take part in a light training session on Thursday.

"It was very scary actually, it copped him on the side of the cheekbone I think," Marsh said. "I think he's okay so that's the main thing and hopefully he'll bounce back pretty quickly. Obviously he's a little bit shaken, when you do get hit in the head you do get shaken by it, but Uzzy's a tough cookie and he'll be fine and ready to go."

Khawaja's presence at the top of the order had meant David Warner moved down to No. 3. Khawaja was on 5 when he retired hurt and Warner made 12 before he was dismissed by Oshane Thomas.

West Indies were bowled out for 229 on the small out ground, as the Australian pacemen Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile made frequent use of the bouncer, well supported by the wrist spin of Adam Zampa. Among the bowlers, only Jason Behrendorff (1 for 65 from nine overs) was got at by the West Indies, who were missing Chris Gayle.

Marsh's unbeaten 55 batting at No. 5 gave him a head start in the race for batting berths once the tournament begins on May 30, also recalling his runs against England in the bilateral series the two team played a year ago. Australia's next warm-up fixture is against the tournament hosts on Saturday.

"I'd like to think I'm nice and flexible, I've batted from one to six throughout my career," Marsh said. "So I'm just going to enjoy the next two practice games, spend some time in the middle and see what happens. It certainly does give you confidence knowing you've scored runs over here in the past and it was nice to spend some time out in the middle and get my feet moving. Good fun.

"Importantly we played well as a team today, I think the bowlers did fantastically well on that wicket and I thought he way Zampa bowled on a smallish ground was fantastic and it was nice to spend some time out there and bat with Smithy as well."