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Smith urges bowlers to lift after washout

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/06/2017 Ian McCullough

Kane Williamson looks back as Steve Smith fields the ball at slip during the ICC Champions Trophy match between Australia and New Zealand © Michael Steele/Getty Images Kane Williamson looks back as Steve Smith fields the ball at slip during the ICC Champions Trophy match between Australia and New Zealand Steve Smith admits Australia dodged a bullet after rain washed out their Champions Trophy opener against New Zealand at Edgbaston.

Set a revised target of 235 off 33 overs after dismissing the Black Caps for 291, Australia were struggling at 53-3 when rain fell again in the ninth over - with 20 overs required to be completed for a result.

Subsequently, both sides picked up a point, and Smith's men now have to beat Bangladesh at The Oval on Monday to have any genuine chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the Australian bowlers, finishing with 6-52, but Smith was unhappy with what was sent down for the first 40 overs as Kane Williamson scored a fine century before his run out for 100 sparked a stunning late collapse

Sitting pretty at 254-3 when Williamson departed, New Zealand lost their final seven wickets for 37 runs in less than six overs as Hazlewood ripped through the tail.

However, the skipper was furious at the performance of his bowlers, as the returning Mitchell Starc (0-52) and Pat Cummins (1-67) in particular, struggled with the line and length albeit on a perfect batting wicket.

"I thought it was probably one of the worst bowling displays that we've put on for a very long time," Smith said.

"We bowled both sides of wicket. We gave them a lot of freebies. And it was pretty ordinary, to be honest with you."

The redoubtable John Hastings did retain some control in the middle overs for his side, alongside the offspin of Travis Head and the experienced Victorian seamer ended the dangerous innings of Luke Ronchi for 65 off 43 balls.

Starc has not played since the second Test against India in March and Smith is confident his leading bowler can rediscover some form against Bangladesh.

"Let's hope it's rust and let's hope it's gone. Because that was pretty ordinary," the skipper said.

"Credit to them they came out quite hard and played quite well up top and got their innings going.

"Kane timed his innings beautifully, played really well throughout the middle but we did not bowl well at all."

Australia's top order didn't look comfortable against New Zealand's disciplined seam attack with David Warner (18) the first to depart after his huge heave went straight through to Ronchi behind the stumps.

Aaron Finch (8) then followed him back to the pavilion after picking out Ross Taylor from an Adam Milne delivery.

Milne struck again when he caught Henriques for an unconvincing 18 from his own bowling with Smith left unbeaten on eight.

"We obviously still had some batters in the shed that can certainly play when you need to be chasing a total like that," Smith said.

"But probably we'd certainly would have preferred to be in New Zealand's position when we came off the end there. So we perhaps got away with one."

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