Sports Desk: Australia's innings ended on a dismal note as the team was all out on 223 with one over remaining in the World Cup semi-final against England at Edgbaston on Thursday.
The defending champions had started miserably and lost their top three batsmen and managed to score merely 27 runs — their lowest score in an opening powerplay. They were reduced to 15 for three in seven overs after Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer swiftly ripped through their top order.
Skipper Aaron Finch was bowled out for a duck by Archer in the second over of play while Woakes picked up the wickets of David Warner (9) and Peter Handscomb (4).
The loss of Finch and Warner so early in the game was a blow to Australia, as the two have consistently built strong partnerships that have proved to be a major contributor in their team's victories in the group matches of the World Cup.
Steve Smith (85) and Alex Carey (46) managed to bring some stability to the innings by forming a 100-plus run partnership as English bowlers tried to restrict the flow of runs. Together, they had added 103 runs to the scoreboard.
But Australia's batting momentum was shaken for the second time in the day when Adil Rashid dismissed Carey in the 28th over. Rashid gave England another reason to celebrate two balls later after he dismissed Marcus Stoinis for a duck in the same over.
Archer struck for the second time when he dismissed Glen Maxwell (22) in the 35th over. On the other side of the pitch, Smith could only shake his head in disappointment as he saw his third partner depart in eight overs. The score predictor had dropped to 229 runs from 310 at the start of the game.
Rashid bagged his third wicket of the day when he removed Pat Cummins (6) who was caught by Joe Root at first slip in the 39th over.
Cummins was replaced by Mitchell Starc, who hung on along with Smith to lead Australia beyond 200 runs in bid to post a modest score. Together, they managed to post 43 runs on the scoreboard.
Jos Buttler struck a blow to Australia by throwing a direct hit that removed Smith — who had acted as an anchor for the Australian batting lineup — in the 48th over.
Mitchel Starc (29) was gone on the next delivery by Chris Woakes when he tried the ball hard but was caught by Buttler.
Nathan Lyon and Jason Behrendorff tried to hold their ground for the next two overs but a yorker by Mark Wood in the 49th over, that bowled out the latter batsman, brought an end to the Australian innings.
Rashid and Woakes stood out among the bowlers, bagging three wickets each, though the former proved to be more expensive as he gave away 54 runs in his 10-over spell. Archer picked 2-32 while Wood bagged one wicket.
risingbd/Dhaka/July 11, 2019/AKA