It was like he hadn't left - Finch praises Smith after unbeaten 91
Steve Smith produced a performance that was "like he hadn't left", said Aaron Finch after the former Australia captain struck 91 not out against a New Zealand XI on Friday.
Smith and opener David Warner are back in the Australia fray having served their suspensions for the ball-tampering scandal that overshadowed their 2018 tour of South Africa.
The former hit 89 not out against a New Zealand XI on Wednesday and followed that up with another stunning performance against the same opposition, finding the boundary 10 times in a 108-ball knock.
Australia won the final match of their Brisbane training camp by 16 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, and Finch believes the experience of Smith and former vice-captain Warner will be a huge boost to their Cricket World Cup hopes.
"His [Smith] timing and class was back again," Finch said. "It was like he hadn't left. His drives down the ground on a really difficult wicket to time off the front foot was so impressive, just the amount of time he spent in the middle and how he went through the gears was very impressive.
So Steve Smith finished his comeback series against the New Zealand XI averaging 202. Here's highlights from his unbeaten 91 in game three pic.twitter.com/O7bSJjwoz3— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) May 10, 2019
"They [Smith and Warner] are two of the best players in the world which is valuable to have at your disposal. The boys have been brilliant. All the work off the field with the team has been great.
"It's an interesting time, no doubt, when they are coming back in but still a great opportunity for everyone to learn off them as well. They have so much experience and what they bring to the group is really valuable."
Smith and Warner are among six players that were part of Australia's 2015 World Cup-winning side who feature in the squad that will attempt to retain the title in England.
"I think it's a big advantage, just to know what it takes to win a World Cup and what it takes to manage your way through a campaign which can be difficult," Finch added.
"You have to be at your best at the business end but you can't afford to let anything slip at the start. Six guys who have been there and done that will give a lot of experience to the others of what to expect, what to feel walking out there because it is different.
"When you talk so much about it, when it finally happens it's a relief to be looking forward. The fact everyone is together and getting on great, the boys are pumped to ramp up the preparations. It really is the time of your life, a World Cup, so that will be awesome."
Australia begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 1.