England hit back after Finch’s gutsy century
LONDON: England produced an impressive fightback to counter Aaron Finch’s century and give themselves a chance of victory in their World Cup clash with Australia at Lord’s.
Captain Finch scored 100, David Warner 53 and Steve Smith 38 — but Australia let slip their early dominance, closing on 285 for seven from their 50 overs. Chris Woakes bagged two wickets for 46 runs, with both his breakthroughs coming in the space of four balls.
Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali all took one wicket apiece, while Adil Rashid’s 10 overs cost just 49 runs. So England have a chance to banish the memories of their two failed run chases in the tournament so far, against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Defeat here would leave England under big pressure to reach the semi-finals in their final round-robin clashes against potent rivals India and New Zealand. The hosts slipped to a sticky, wicketless start, but rallied well to peg Australia back in a dogged display with the ball.
England skipper Eoin Morgan opted to bowl after winning the toss but Finch and Warner seized early control for Australia in a 123-run opening-wicket stand. However, just as Australia appeared primed to pull away, England hit back.
Moeen removed Warner for 53, with the controversial batsmen receiving boos from the crowd following his previous ball-tampering suspension. Finch reached his second century of the tournament in what looked another warning shot for a hefty Australia score.
But on the very next ball he holed out to Woakes and Australia slipped to 185 for three in the 36th over. Usman Khawaja had come and gone for 23 by that point, clean bowled by Stokes.
Big-hitting dangerman Glenn Maxwell only managed 12 before Wood had him caught behind.
And when Marcus Stoinis had to walk on eight after a bizarre run out, Australia were 228 for five in the 42nd over. Former skipper Smith endured the bulk of the abuse from the crowd, more so when departing on 38 than when striding out to the crease.
He swiped his bat in disgust at a loose shot which gifted England their sixth dismissal, Archer offering safe hands for Woakes’ wicket. Three balls later, Woakes struck again, this time tempting Pat Cummins into an edge to Jos Buttler behind the stumps.