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  5. 2019 World Cup: Fans dress up as sandpaper, chant 'cheaters' at David Warner, Steve Smith. See photos

2019 World Cup: Fans dress up as sandpaper, chant 'cheaters' at David Warner, Steve Smith. See photos

David Warner was booed when he walked out to open Australia's 208 chase and later when he reached a half-century against Afghanistan.

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Bristol Published on: June 02, 2019 14:04 IST
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Fans dress up as sandpaper, chant 'cheaters' at David Warner, Steve Smith

Australia head coach Justin Langer, before their World Cup opener against Afghanistan, had urged fans not to boo Steve Smith and David Warner who are making a return to international cricket after serving a one-year ban for Sandpaper Gate.

However, what happened on Saturday was on the expected lines, given the fierce and historical rivalry between England and Australia.

Warner was booed when he walked out to open Australia's 208 chase and later when he reached a half-century. A couple was even seen dressed up in sandpaper boxes.

Smith, who was Australia's captain during the ball tampering controversy against South Africa last year, drew louder and more persistent boos when he walked out at number four.

However, the boos and the harsh treatment which Warner and Smith received didn't have any effect on their batting as they shared together a 40-run stand to help Australia begin their title defence in an emphatic manner by registering a seven-wicket win over Afghanistan.

Warner, who had come to open the batting, didn't seem to be fizzled by the crowd's reaction and went about his business in a very professional manner. He scored 89* which consisted of eight boundaries and showed promising signs for the Australian fans.

Although Smith just scored 18 runs, he made valuable contributions with his fielding as he took a great catch and also helped in an important run-out during the course of the Afghanistan inning.

Even in the warm-up game, the duo were given a hostile reception at the Hampshire Bowl, with both being booed at the start of their innings and after being dismissed, while former captain Smith was also booed after making 50 and again when reaching a century.

Sections of the crowd had chanted "cheat" at both players and fans wore costumes referencing sandpaper.

After the warm-up match, spinner Nathan Lyon said the reaction from the England crowd was on expected lines.

"It was as expected - they're ruthless over here," foxsports.com.au quoted Lyon as saying. "I've had two Ashes tours and a one-day series over here and haven't experienced anything else. They're ruthless and there's not much love. They haven't changed their lines in the last 12 months."

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