Barmy Army image savages Warner
SPENDING the entire summer working in front of thousands of people jeering at you from afar sounds like a miserable time, right?
Welcome to life in England as a touring Australian.
Unfortunately for David Warner and the host of Aussies travelling to the British Isles this month, the fiery England supporter base - the Barmy Army - has extra ammunition in its cannon ahead of the World Cup-Ashes season.
The all-encompassing ball-tampering scandal in 2018 only added fuel to the fire for England's war against Warner - and now the Barmy Army has shifted it up a gear with an especially brutal sledge at the returning Aussie opener.
The group posted a doctored image of the former vice-captain pointing to the word "cheats" on his World Cup jersey. The original photo by Getty Images photographer Ryan Pierse had the 32-year-old posing pointing to the word "Australia" on his chest.
Warner has since returned to the fold for Australia after serving a year-long ban with Steve Smith for his involvement in Cameron Bancroft tampering with the ball in at Test match in Cape Town last year.
Bowlers Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were also burnt by the relentless Barmy Army, who photoshopped images of sandpaper into their hands.
"The Australia squad look ready for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019!" the post read.
If shots haven't already been fired, we'll consider this as the first cannon blast of the tour ahead.
The Barmy Army has a long history of taking shots at Warner, who became a target after an infamous after-hours altercation with England batsman Joe Root in 2013.
The cricket-mad fanbase announced on April Fools that Warner had joined their ranks as an ambassador.
But it hasn't all been social media banter directed at Warner, who has endured years of the Barmy Army taking jabs at his family.
Smith and Warner had vastly contrasting fortunes in their second matches back in an Australian uniform since their 12-month suspensions.
Smith scored 89 not out from 77 balls to help lead Australia to 277-6 in a warm-up clash against New Zealand. It was the 29-year-old's best score in more than two years in a 50-over match.
New Zealand won the match by seven wickets with 16 balls remaining. Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, returning from injury, took 2-14 from five overs for Australia.
Will Young was run out for 130 and captain Tom Latham was 69 not out to guide New Zealand to the win.
Smith hit three sixes over mid-off and thumped a straight drive past the bowler early in his innings Wednesday, then increased his scoring rate in his final eight overs.
Warner, promoted to his usual opening spot after batting No. 3 in his return on Monday, lasted just six balls when he knocked a simple catch to cover.
Australia won the first of three practice matches by one wicket with 10 balls to spare on Monday.
The last practice match is Friday as both teams prepare for the World Cup in England starting May 30.
- with AP