David Warner said it felt “bizarre” to be playing England without a crowd following Australia’s two-run defeat by their arch-rivals in a Twenty20 international at Southampton on Friday that marked the tourists’ first competitive match in nearly six months.
All of England’s home fixtures this season are being played behind closed doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s the first time I have been here (England) and not been abused, which is quite nice,” said Warner.
There were no fans present at the Ageas Bowl to roar on England as the hosts, with Australia seemingly cruising to a victory target of 163 at 124-1, hit back with a burst of four wickets for nine runs in 14 balls.
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Warner was subjected to repeated crowd jeering during last year’s World Cup in England following his part in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
And the taunts from home fans only intensified as Warner managed just 95 runs in the subsequent drawn Ashes series, with the left-handed opener dismissed seven times in 10 innings by Stuart Broad.
Veteran paceman Broad no longer plays white-ball international cricket and Warner top-scored for Australia with a fine 58 on Friday.
Asked if he atmosphere had felt like an England-Australia match, Warner told reporters after stumps: “From a crowd perspective, no.”
He added: “It was a bit bizarre (the lack of any spectators). But we’re just grateful to be back and playing,” he added after what was Australia’s first competitive match since they beat New Zealand in a one-day international in Sydney on March 13.
Warner and Australia captain Aaron Finch (46) put on 98 in 11 overs, with both openers lamenting the fact that neither of them finished the job as England went 1-0 up in a three-match series that continues on Sunday.
With 19 needed off 12 balls, England paceman Chris Jordan conceded just four runs off the penultimate over.
And a target of 15 off six balls proved just too much for Marcus Stoinis, in his first match for Australia since their 50-over World Cup semi-final defeat by England, with the all-rounder unable to hit either a six off Tom Curran’s last delivery that would have won the match or a four that would have sent the game into a Super Over.
“Towards the end they (England) bowled exceptionally well, they knocked us over quite comprehensively,” said Warner.
Jofra Archer (2-33), removed both Finch and Warner in what was the fast bowler’s first white-ball international in more than a year since he bowled the Super Over that sealed England’s World Cup final win over New Zealand at Lord’s.
“I missed a yorker – a very good delivery,” Warner said.
“There’s no excuses there. The guys were outplayed to be honest.”
FINCH DEFENDS LOOSE SHOT SELECTION
England beat Australia by two runs in a last-ball thriller as they won the first Twenty20 international at Southampton on Friday to go 1-0 up in a three-match series.
The Aussies were cruising to victory at 124-1 chasing a target of 163, before skipper Aaron Finch (46) lost his wicket to Jofra Archer, as did Steve Smith (18) and Glenn Maxwell (1) thereafter to Adil Rashid.
David Warner made 58 from 47 balls but was also unable to go on to hit a match-winning score.
Marcus Stoinis had the chance to win the match for the visitors off the last ball – with a six giving Australia victory, and a boundary sending the game to a super over – but could only manage two runs from a Tom Curran yorker.
The Aussies came under-scrutiny post-game for poor shot selection in the chase, but Finch defended his players post-match, describing the loss as a learning experience.
“We knew England were going to keep coming hard and I think they executed really well,” said Finch, who blasted 46 from 32 balls at the top of the order but was unable to turn it into a big score.
“We probably just struggled to find the boundary a bit in that 12 to 18 over mark, and it’s something we need to keep working on.
“That’s not the first time it’s happened so as long as the boys keep leaning and continuing to improve at it, (then) lesson learnt.
“I think they (Smith and Warner) were both playing to our game plan, so if you can separate the execution and the game plan you can look a bit deeper into it.
“But no, I think the T20 game is about taking your options and matching that up with the right game plan.
“I’d probably be more critical of myself and Davey (Warner) who got us off to a good start, and neither of us really kicked on to have a matchwinning contribution.”
Warner, opening alongside Finch, managed 58 from 47 balls before being bowled by Jofra Archer.
Earlier, England, sent into bat, were restricted to 162-7, with only Dawid Malan (66) and Jos Buttler (44) making significant scores.
Australia paceman Kane Richardson took 2-13 from three overs and occasional spinner Glenn Maxwell 2-14 from three.
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