David Warner and Aaron Finch are set to reunite at the top of Australia's order during the World Cup, with statistics suggesting the banned batsman's return should be a boon for his captain.
Finch's recent Test struggles continued against India in Saturday's ODI series opener at the SCG, where swing king Bhuvneshwar Kumar needed four balls at the opener to find a gap between bat and pad.
The rattling of the stumps restricted Finch's stand with Alex Carey, who was promoted to open for the first time in his ODI career, to just eight runs.
A productive opening partnership, largely absent during a slump in which Australia have won three of their past 21 completed ODIs, arguably tops Justin Langer's World Cup wishlist.
Carey scored 24 as he joined Chris Lynn, Travis Head, D'Arcy Short, Hilton Cartwright, Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade and Joe Burns on a long list of options trialled at the top of the order since the 2015 World Cup.
Everything points towards Warner and Finch, Australia's opening pair from their 2015 World Cup triumph, performing the job in England later this year.
"You'd assume David Warner will come straight back into the role," Australia's assistant coach Brad Haddin said on Fox Cricket.
Finch's record reveals how he walks taller when Warner is down the other end.
Finch has scored 1936 runs at 39.5 from 51 ODIs he has played with Warner, while the Victorian's record from 46 ODIs without Warner is 1488 runs at 34.6.
Finch, who has failed to pass 50 in his past five ODIs, spoke pre-match in Sydney of how he felt physically and mentally refreshed after some rare time at home that was a by-product of being dumped from the Test side.
But former England captain Michael Vaughan pondered whether the 32-year-old's failed experiment at the top of the Test order may have affected his approach in the coloured clothing.
"I wonder if his mindset is just a little bit confused," Vaughan said on Fox.
"Has it just bamboozled his mind a little bit? Has he started to think like a batsman rather than someone who strikes the ball?"
Finch and national coach Langer have spoken in recent weeks of how Warner and Steve Smith will be welcomed back with open arms.
Warner, serving a 12-month ban for his role in the Cape Town cheating scandal, recently scored a half-century in Bangladesh to steer his side to their first victory of the Twenty20 tournament.
Australian Associated Press