If David Warner and Travis Head pair up as Australia’s openers at next year’s 50-over World Cup in India, they just gave their rivals a formidable glimpse of the destruction that could lie ahead.
In Australia’s first one-day international since the retirement of captain and long-time opener Aaron Finch in September, Warner and Head combined for a 147-run stand to set up a six-wicket win over England at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
Chasing 288 runs to win after England first drop Dawid Malan compiled 134 from 128, Australia had little trouble.
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Warner has made it clear he intends to feature in his third ODI World Cup at next year’s edition, set to take place across October and November, but the man to join him as Finch’s replacement remains a mystery.
Warner peeled off 86 runs from 84 balls and Head 69 from 57 in Thursday’s ODI.
They both struck 10 fours and a six as Australia cruised to victory in 46.5 overs, frustrating England just four days after Jos Buttler and his teammates won the T20 World Cup final against Pakistan.
Warner and Head took advantage of an understrength England bowling attack, with Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid all rested for the low-key fixture.
While Warner and Finch were Australia’s openers for the 2015 and 2019 editions of the ODI World Cup, it’s Warner and Head who own the record for highest first-wicket partnership by an Australian pair in 50-over cricket.
Warner and Head joined forces for 284 runs against Pakistan at Adelaide Oval in 2017.
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Thursday’s success has all but locked them in as Australia’s openers for the final two ODIs of the series against England, at the SCG and MCG, but Cameron Green, Usman Khawaja and Matthew Renshaw are among the candidates to partner Warner at the top of the order at the 50-over World Cup.
Head was his typically straight-shooting self when asked how he found the pressure as Finch’s replacement.
“Pretty easy with Davey at the other end,” Head said.
“He got off to a flyer, which we were able to ride off … and take the game on, which we were able to do.
“Nice to contribute to a win.
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“He puts so much pressure on the bowling … so if I can get him on the other end and he can put pressure on, hopefully I can get a few loose balls at the other.
“The partnership (has worked) really well in the past.
“It’s nice to get away first up, and hopefully we can do it again.”
Head departed 19 overs into Thursday’s chase and Warner followed nine overs later, by which point first drop Steve Smith was well on his way to an unbeaten 80 from 78.
Australia and England will meet in the second ODI at the SCG on Saturday, before clashing in the final match of the series at the MCG next Tuesday.
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