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Australia still pondering opening options

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/05/2017 Ian McCullough

Australia captain Steve Smith says a decision is yet to be made on David Warner's partner at the top of the order for the Champions Trophy opener against New Zealand.

The world champions have a first practice match against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Friday then face Pakistan at Edgbaston next Monday before kicking off their tournament against the Black Caps in Birmingham on June 2.

Aaron Finch, Travis Head and big-hitting Chris Lynn are all vying for a spot alongside Warner and Smith has challenged the trio to make a case for selection.

"There's a couple of practice matches so a chance for a few guys to bat in these conditions and see if someone really puts their name up," Smith said.

"We've obviously got a few options there to go with and we've got some really strong batters in our line up.

"So it could depend on how those guys go in these two practice matches matches we play."

Finch has been a regular in the side since debuting in 2013 and partnered Warner in the successful World Cup campaign nearly 18 months ago.

However, 23-year-old Head showed his class with an elegant 128 in a record-breaking opening stand of 284 with Warner last Australia Day in Adelaide.

Queensland's Lynn only made 16 on his ODI debut against Pakistan in Brisbane in January, but showed his quality in the IPL, averaging 49.16 in seven matches for Kolkata Knight Riders before his tournament was curtailed due to a shoulder injury.

All three will get a chance to stake their claims and Smith said the warm-ups, which will see up to 15 batsmen from each team allowed time in the middle, are important for the 16-man squad.

"We will try to play those games with as much intensity as we need," he said.

"We haven't been together as a group for a while so it is a good opportunity for us to get in the rhythm of one-day cricket again.

"The majority of us have been away playing in the IPL so now it is about reigning things back in and bringing the tempo back down a little bit getting used to 50 over cricket."

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