David Warner at centre of ‘unbelievable’ Steve Smith drama after helicopter saga

The retiring Test star was always going to be at the centre of drama after arriving to the BBL match in a helicopter.

David Warner's banter towards Steve Smith resulted in a first-ball duck for the Sydney Sixers batter. Pic: Getty/Fox Cricket
David Warner's banter towards Steve Smith resulted in a first-ball duck for the Sydney Sixers batter. Pic: Getty/Fox Cricket

David Warner was never going to be far from drama after arriving at the SCG for the Sydney Thunder's Big Bash match against the Sixers on a helicopter on Friday. Warner copped backlash for his helicopter journey to the match from his brother's wedding, before turning his attention to former Test teammate Steve Smith before the first ball.

The retired Test star was mic'd up for Fox Cricket's coverage of the match and couldn't resist hurling some banter towards Smith as the Sixers batter took his mark before the first ball. Warner - who copped backlash for taking a helicopter to the match from his brother's wedding in the Hunter Valley - started off by goading Smith about his exhibition hit-out with Novak Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday night.

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“He’s got his tennis swing on I reckon. Him and Novak Djokovic are mates now, so we might see a bit of top spin,” Warner told the Fox Cricket coverage. Aussie cricket great Mark Waugh asked Warner if he was trying to distract his former Test teammate before he opened the innings for the Sixers, prompting a fresh series of sledges from the Thunder star.

“Nothing distracts him ever,” Warner said, before turning his attentions to Smith as the batter went about marking centre stump on the SCG pitch. “No that’s not centre. To the right," Warner joked as Smith completely ignored the barbs coming his way. “Mate, if you open the batting you have got to mark it properly. One go only," Warner carried on, likely in reference to Smith's promotion to opener as Warner's Test replacement.

Seen here, David Warner arriving at the SCG on a helicopter.
David Warner's arrival in a helicopter was the talk of the cricket world before the BBL match. Pic: Getty

The sell-out clash at the SCG was billed as the battle between the two Aussie cricket stars, but in an extraordinary start that left many viewers dumbfounded, Smith was caught out off the very first ball of the match. The Stars batter top edged a ball off Daniel Sams that landed in the grateful hands of Nathan McAndrew near the boundary to leave fans and commentators in shock.

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“I don’t think anybody can believe that,” Fox Cricket commentator Mark Howard said. Mark Waugh added: “I don’t think Steve Smith has mis-hit one for the Sixers in two seasons, I can’t believe that. It is a pretty hard shot to play first ball.”

Retiring Steve O'Keefe stars in Sixers win

Smith ultimately had the last laugh as the Sixers ended Thunder's slim hopes of making the BBL finals, courtesy of a 19-run win. Retiring spinner Steve O'Keefe proved the hero for the Sixers, taking impressive figures of 3-13 - including the prized scalp of Warner for 37 (off 39 balls) to help bowl the Thunder out for a disappointing 132.

The Sixers had earlier posted 7/151 off their 20 overs after top-scorer Josh Philippe (47) laid the platform and middle order batter Jordan Silk (35) ensured his side would would set a competitive total. Once again, it was the Thunder's batters that let the side down, with Warner given little support at the top of the order after O'Keefe removed Alex Hales and Cameron Bancroft in his first over.

The result officially ends the Thunder's slim finals hopes, and locks the Sixers in for another post-season appearance. A win in Perth on Tuesday night will allow the Sixers to finish runner-up on the ladder and earn a second chance, otherwise a home elimination final awaits.

with AAP

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