England limited Australia to a final total of 223 all out in Thursday’s World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Captain Aaron Finch’s decision to bat first after winning the toss didn’t go according to plan, as Australia slipped to 17-3 inside seven overs.
Finch perished for a first-ball duck to fast bowler Jofra Archer despite an lbw review, while fellow opener David Warner failed to successfully negotiate some steep bounce generated by seamer Chris Woakes. The recalled Peter Handscomb, who replaced the injured Usman Khawaja, was then bowled by Woakes.
Former captain Steve Smith and wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey orchestrated a recovery, of sorts, during a 103-run alliance for the fourth wicket. Carey wore head strapping for the bulk of the innings, after copping a painful blow from Archer’s bouncer.
Carey’s eventual departure for 46 brought the all-rounders to the crease, but trio Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Pat Cummins shared a mere 28 runs. What Archer and Woakes started, leg-spinner Adil Rashid continued with three key wickets.
Smith stood firm throughout and relished solid support from all-rounder Mitchell Starc. Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler’s sharp run-out of Smith for 85, though, ended the resilience.
Thursday’s winner will meet New Zealand in Sunday’s final at Lord’s in London. The Black Caps beat India by 18 runs in Tuesday and Wednesday’s rain-affected first semi-final at Old Trafford in Manchester.
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