Australia’s explosive opener David Warner expressed his gratitude towards the South African fans for their positive response towards him and Steve Smith in the ongoing T20I series. Returning to South Africa for the first time since the infamous ball-tampering scandal, Warner is ‘overwhelmed’ by the positive response he and Smith have received.

Before the tour gets underway, there has been plenty of pre-series hype about the potential tough reception for the star pair. However, Warner and Smith’s time in South Africa so far has been a non-eventful in terms of off-field controversy.

The pair reached Cape Town on Monday ahead of the T20 series decider on Wednesday. Newlands Stadium (Cape Town) is the same scene where the ball-tampering saga unfolded nearly two years ago.

“I’ve pretty much been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had from the fans,” Warner said after Australia’s T20 loss at St George’s Park on Sunday as quoted by www.cricket.com.au.

“The fans were just outstanding, they were very respectful. I didn’t cop anything on the fence, the kids were yelling out for autographs and we obliged as we always do. It was a great atmosphere.”

Warner also told reporters that their T20 World Cup preparations on home soil are on track.

“We are definitely on track. You go back 18 months ago, even further back than that, people weren’t even rating us as a top-five ranked team. But given the schedule, it was difficult to put out our best team all the time.

“But over the last 18 months we’ve established a really strong side, and we’ve consistently put out our best team every time we’ve played, and I think we’ve focused very well on the World Cup,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Australia were on an eight-match winning streak before losing to South Africa by 12 runs in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. The three-match series is levelled at 1-1 with the decider to be played on Wednesday at Newlands.

“We’ve got a great balance in our team right now. There is a lot of credit due to the bowling unit, especially the two spinners (Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa) who’ve really worked well together. Finchy (captain Aaron Finch) has used the bowlers at the right time as well, so we are being led in the right direction,” he said.

“Our batting speaks for itself. We have great depth there and I feel we are very experienced… We don’t rely on one or two players. We’ve got 11 match-winners and that’s the exciting thing about it.”