Birmingham, July 11 : After a string of low scores, former Australia skipper Steve Smith rose to the occasion and hit a gritty 85 to take Australia to 223 against hosts England in the second semi-final of the 2019 World Cup at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Thursday. This after the English bowler created mayhem in the first four overs to reduce them to 14/3 under slightly overcast conditions.
Bringing in all the experience of the 117 ODIs he had played before this game, Smith put his head down and kept waiting for the bad balls to make hay till an effort to run a quick single saw him being run out in the 48th over. Australia also lost Mitchell Starc (29) off the very next ball to again lose the plot towards the end.
Earlier, winning the toss and batting first, Australia got off to a disastrous start as they lost skipper Aaron Finch (0) in the second over of the innings. Having managed to evade his issues with the incoming delivery so far in the tournament, Finch was done in by a beauty from Jofra Archer. The Aussies did take a review, but it was a waste.
Chris Woakes then handed Australia a twin blow as he first sent back in-form David Warner for 9, caught by Jonny Bairstow behind the wicket, and then dismissed Peter Handscomb (4) with the incoming delivery as the gap between his bat and pad saw the stumps being rattled.
With the score reading a dismal 14/3, Alex Carey joined Smith in the middle and the wicket-keeper was immediately welcomed with a ferocious bouncer by Archer that hit him on the chin. A bloodied chin notwithstanding, Carey was ready to battle it out for the team.
The two put their heads down and started stitching a partnership as the Australians slowly crawled back into the game. But just when it looked like the duo will run away with the game Adil Rashid struck, getting Carey (49) to sweep one straight down James Vince's throat. The 103-run partnership was broken against the run of play.
Rashid then picked Marcus Stoinis for a duck as he failed to read another googly and was trapped leg before. Glenn Maxwell was the next man in and looked in good flow before an Archer delivery saw him loop one back to Eoin Morgan at cover. Another disappointing 23-ball 22 for the batsman as Rashid then returned to send back Pat Cummins with another googly, caught beautifully at first slip by Joe Root for 6.
With the score on 175/7 after 40 overs, it was all about aggression with an eye on the wickets column for the Australian duo of Smith and Mitchell Starc. In the end, Australia picked 47 runs in the last nine before being dismissed in the 49th over.
Brief Scores: Australia: 223 (Smith 85; Woakes 3/20, Rashid 3/54) vs England (Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)