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AUSTRALIA V PAKISTAN TESTS

Aussies out to ride the momentum

10 December 2016
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Australia look to continue winning run as they turn their attention to Pakistan Test series

About the Writer:
 @Dave_Middleton

Dave Middleton is cricket.com.au's senior news editor. From Queensland, he spent 10 years in the UK where he wrote for The Times, The Sunday Times, the Guardian and The Telegraph.

Less than a month ago, Australian cricket was in "crisis". Today the Test squad assembles in Brisbane with the team having won its past four matches in all formats and in red-hot form.

David Warner's 156 – a seventh one-day century in 2016 –and a return to form for Mitchell Starc who delivered some searing yorkers helped Australia wrap up the Chappell-Haddlee ODI series with a 3-0 whitewash of the Black Caps in Melbourne.

Quick single: Warner outscores NZ, Aussies win 3-0

It's a quick turnaround of format and colour of ball before the Commonwealth Bank Test series starts on Thursday but Australia skipper Steve Smith is "very satisfied" with where things are now compared to the nadir of Hobart and a fifth-straight Test defeat.

"We've played some very good one-day cricket over the three games. We've had guys in the top four who've scored hundreds, and the bowlers have executed their plans beautifully, so three very good performances," Smith said after the 117-run win in Melbourne.

"Guys have been getting runs – and some big runs – so it's always nice to spend that kind of time in the middle," the skipper said of what could carry over from the one-day format into the Test arena.

Warner continues red hot form with another ton

"Obviously it's going to be different in Brisbane against the pink ball and against a quality opposition like Pakistan, so we'll have to be at our best if we want to score some runs at there.

"It's been a great series for us and great for our confidence as well.

"Winning is a lot better than losing and it becomes a bit of a habit as well. Hopefully we can keep up this habit for the rest of the summer."

While Warner broke new ground with Australian records for the most ODI centuries in a calendar year and the most runs scored in a three-match series (299), Smith also highlighted the return to form of Mitchell Starc.

With Pakistan's batsmen struggling under lights against the Cricket Australia XI in Cairns, Starc will relish the prospect of taking the pink Kookaburra at the Gabba after a start to the summer that has seen observers claim he entered the South Africa series "underdone".

Quick single: The story behind Warner's celebration

Starc was scheduled to be rested from the ODI tour of South Africa where Australia were trounced 5-0, but a freak leg injury at a training camp just prior to the squad's departure saw him unable to bowl for much of that break, and he was then restricted in New South Wales' sole Sheffield Shield match before the season-opening WACA Test against the Proteas..

"I think he's got better with every game he's played (and) I think he's getting back to his best," said Smith said of his spearhead on Friday night.

"He bowled some beautiful yorkers (Saturday night) that he's very well known for. When he's doing that we know he's going pretty well, so hopefully we can see a big series against Pakistan."

Smith himself poured on the runs against New Zealand, with a personal best 164 at the Sydney Cricket Ground last Sunday, while his vice-captain Warner has hit his straps after a slower-than-usual start to the summer.

Starc sizzles with three wickets at the 'G

"You try and stay in form as much as you can and try and hit the ball as well as you can," Warner said of his purple patch.

"That's just the game, you have got to keep trying to work as hard as you can and you've got to start fresh every game.

"For myself, it's about trying to get into my innings and doing obviously the best for the team.

"I'm happy with where my game is at the moment and I'm doing everything I can every time I walk out there."

Warner's former Test opening partner Chris Rogers said he was impressed most not by the volume of Warner's runs, but the way in which he accrued them.

Quick single: Warner one ball away from more history

"He's on top of his game at the moment. It wasn't just the fact that he got so many of Australia's runs, it was how he constructed his innings," Rogers told Optus Sport's Stumps.

"I think we looked at that wicket and thought perhaps it's a 350 wicket, it looked flat, but then it was a lot harder than we expected.

"He actually weighed that up very early and played it coolly.

"To play that innings … that was the difference in the game."

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Meg Lanning Steve Smith

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