“Obviously you always feel for them but it’s part of the game isn’t it? We were expecting it,” said Lyon.
“I don’t think it’s just Steve and David. I think when you’re in a team environment away from home and away from your loved ones and family etcetera, I think the word ‘care’ doesn’t get thrown around enough.
“I think if you can actually care about your team-mates and staff members, I think it’s very important. At the end of the day we’re humans. Like, we all want to be loved but it just doesn’t happen like that some days so it’s just all about hanging tough together. We know that the crowds are going to be ruthless over here.”
If anything, Smith’s year in exile looks to have had a positive effect on his batting. The familiar fidgety twitching and aggressively unorthodox batting hasn’t changed, but his 116 runs at the Ageus Bowl, following scores of 89 not out, 91 not out and 76 in three previous warm-up matches, suggests he is heading into the World Cup in better ODI form than he was in before the Newlands scandal forced his absence from the game.
“I was actually a little bit disappointed with my one-day form probably the last 18 months – take out the last 12 – so it was nice to spend a bit of time out in the middle today and the practice games that we’ve had so far I have felt really good. Everything is going well and I’m looking forward to the first game coming now.”
“I’m not reading too much into it, they’re just practice games at the moment, hopefully I can keep this form for the real stuff and we’ll make a judgment then. I am feeling good, I’m feeling calm at the crease and hitting the right balls I want to the boundary.”
While England had a frustrating day dominated by injury concerns, stand-in captain Jos Buttler saw much to admire in Smith’s innings.
“He just looked like the Steve Smith of old, didn’t he?” said Buttler. “He just played well. He played good cricket shots and very in control of his innings.”
“He looks the same player doesn’t he? He was a class player twelve months ago and he still is so he hasn’t obviously forgotten how to bat in that time, he is one of the world’s best batsmen and he knows his game very well and I think that’s what you saw today.”