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Warner shuts out boos on Oz return 

Bristol, June 2

David Warner was booed when he walked in to bat, he was booed when he reached his 50 — and he was booed all the time in between. But in the end, he came out smiling after leading Australia to an easy win over Afghanistan. Australia, the defending champions, appeared totally unfazed by the hostile reception given to Warner and captain Steve Smith, who had been banned for one year for ball-tampering.

Warner top-scored for Australia with 89 not out in his first official international match after completing a one-year ball-tampering ban as they reached their target with more than 15 overs to spare. Both Warner and Smith, also banned over the “Sandpapergate” scandal, were subjected to jeers from the crowd after suffering a similar fate during last week’s warm-up match against England.

Sandpaper boxes

Two fans even watched the game in Bristol from a balcony dressed as sandpaper boxes in reference to the scandal last year in which Australia hatched a plot to use sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during a Test match in South Africa. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who took three wickets, said Australia were prepared for barracking from spectators throughout the tournament. “We have spoken a bit how we are going to handle that situation,” he said. “Obviously, we copped it in the warm-up game against England, too. But I think we are expecting it. And to be fair, I think everyone’s handling it really well.” 

He said he did not think Warner and Smith would necessarily feed off the negative vibes from the crowd, but instead were shutting them out. “Personally, I don’t really hear the crowd to be honest,” he said. “So I think if you can block it out, you don’t really hear it. As I say, the guys are handling themselves really well. We spoke about it during our camp in Brisbane, about how we are going to react to it and how we are going to handle it and we haven’t spoken about it since. I think we expected that we were going to cop it and I think all of us, to our credit, are just getting on with the job. You heard the boos today when Smithy went out there. Call it what you want, disrespectful, or just a part of the game. Either way, I think the way that us as players are handling it has been great. If you let it get to you, I suppose that is when something will happen.”

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