BRISBANE   -   Steven Smith boarded the flight to the World Cup with questions over his form significantly eased as he struck an unbeaten 91 at Allan Border Field to help Australian XI secure a five-wicket victory over New Zealand XI, although there was momentary scare around his recovering right elbow.

On 63, Smith ran his bat in as he completed a single - which wasn’t as tight as he thought - and the bat jarred in the crease. He dropped it and immediately started flexing the elbow on which he had undergone surgery in January and which has been a focal point over the last few months. At the drinks break, he was examined by the physio, but by the end of the chase he appeared to shake off any pain that might have been there.

If there was just short-term discomfort and no long-term problem, Smith’s week in Brisbane would get a significant tick, with this innings following his unbeaten 89 in the second match. He was on track for a century but, with the over-rate slower than in previous games, the light faded too much and when a Smith straight drive hammered into Jimmy Neesham, the umpires decided it was too dark.

It was a testing chase for the Australians when they slipped to 4 for 137 with David Warner having fallen caught behind for 2 much to his frustration, as it followed the duck he scored in the second match.

However, Glenn Maxwell provided the impetus needed with a 37-ball half-century full of power and invention, bringing out a reverse pull for six shortly after passing fifty. For all the focus on Smith and Warner, so much about Australia’s batting order at the World Cup rests on Maxwell.

The other dominant innings of the day came from the player of the week Will Young with his second hundred in three days. It took his tally for the three matches to 301 to highlight how unlucky he is to not already be capped by New Zealand. That will now have to wait until the end of the year as he faces shoulder surgery on his return home.

As in the successful run chase two days ago, it was Young’s stand with George Worker which laid the platform as the pair added 82 for the second wicket. Worker completed his second half-century of the week before top-edging Adam Zampa to short third-man. The legspinner also trapped captain Tom Latham lbw.

Young and Neesham then upped the tempo in a stand of 67 during which Young reached a hundred filled with high-class strokeplay that continued to mark him out as an international cricketer in waiting. When both set batsmen fell - Young yorked by Marcus Stoinis and Neesham finding mid-off against Mitchell Starc - the innings slipped with Pat Cummins taking his haul to four wickets to reinforce his standing as the in-form bowler in Australia’s attack. Although Zampa claimed two wickets, he was taken for more than eight over, being particularly harshly treated by Neesham, while Stoinis’ brace also came at significant cost.

Starc increased his workload after just five overs in the second match - his first outing for three months - with eight overs across three spells.

BRIEF SCORES: Australian XI 5 for 248 (Smith 91*, Maxwell 70, Henry 2-40) beat New Zealand XI 9 for 286 (Young 111, Worker 59, Cummins 4-32) by 16 runs (DLS method).