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Bancroft smashes unbeaten 138 on Shield return, dismisses rift with Warner

Cameron Bancroft made a strong statement to Australian selectors by carrying his bat in an unbeaten 138, following his return to red-ball cricket after a ball-tampering ban, while dismissing any sort of rift with David Warner.

The 26-year-old opener completed his nine-month suspension in late December and featured for the Perth Scorchers in the recently concluded Big Bash league.

His outing for Western Australia against New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield was his maiden first-class match since the infamous 'sandpapergate' controversy in Cape Town last year in March.

Bancroft displayed immaculate concentration and discipline as he played the anchor role to be 73 not out overnight and completed his hundred on Sunday, smashing eight fours and three sixes in his 358-ball innings to help steer Western Australian to 279 all out.

With the Ashes series against England coming up this summer, it was a timely knock with Australia struggling over the summer to find a consistent Test opener.

Australia have tried Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, and Joe Burns ahead of the return of regular opener Warner and former Test skipper Steve Smith.

The pair are eligible to play again in late March after their one-year bans for their roles in ball-tampering expire.

In an interview during the Boxing Day Test against India in December, Bancroft alleged it was Warner who asked him to alter the ball in the infamous Cape Town Test.

‘Supporting each other’

Some pundits suggested he had thrown Warner ‘under the bus’ and that their relationship was now untenable.

But Bancroft insisted they spoke regularly and had been supporting each other.

"Yeah, I've spoken to Dave... I think all of us, including Dave, have been really challenged through this period of time," he told broadcaster ABC on Saturday evening.

"I know that all three of us have really stuck by each other and looked after each other well. I guess moving forward there will be great lessons for all of us, including Dave.

"That's something we've all shared with each other and something I've certainly shared with Dave when we've communicated throughout this entire journey."

Read: Bancroft confesses considering walking away from cricket in an open letter to his former self

Despite being criticized for the timing of his Boxing Day interview, Bancroft – who will represent Durham in the English summer to further his Ashes chances – said he had no regrets.

"There were some really powerful lessons I learned through my journey that I wanted others to connect and to share with," he said.

"If other people were triggered by that, I guess that's their battle to face.

"But if I was able to touch people through some parts of my journey, and to help them I guess break through (in) their lives, that was my sole intention for that," Bancroft said.

#Australia#Western Australia