BIRMInGHAM    -    England beat Australia by eight wickets to go into the Cricket World Cup final where they will play New Zealand on Sunday at Lord’s.

The defending champions had teetered to 14 for three after deciding to bat first, with England exploiting the early seam movement on offer at Edgbaston, before Jofra Archer bloodied Alex Carey’s jaw with a vicious bumper.

Carey went on to put on 103 alongside Smith, who rarely thrilled in his 85 from 119 balls but his tournament best innings helped Australia to 223 all out in 49 overs as they bid to extend their unbeaten sequence in World Cup semi-finals.

Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid each rose to the occasion with three wickets apiece as they attempt to win a knockout match in this tournament for the first time since 1992. It was Archer who set the tempo with the initial breakthrough, removing Australia captain Aaron Finch, who registered a century against the hosts in their group meeting at Lord’s last month.

Finch’s decision to assert scoreboard pressure after winning the toss - in a tournament where batting first has often been an advantage - looked to have backfired when he and Warner were sent packing within the first 16 deliveries. Finch was pinned in front first ball, burning a review in the process, before Warner fended to second slip after being taken aback by extra bounce from Woakes, who castled Pete Handscomb with a nip-backer via an inside edge.

Every ball was an event at this stage and Carey looked to be in some trouble when his helmet was dislodged by Archer’s brutal bouncer. Australia’s wicketkeeper-batsman did well to catch the helmet before it potentially bounced on to his stumps. Carey had his chin bandaged - he would later have stitches and Cricket Australia confirmed he will be fine to keep wicket - before resolutely steadying the ship alongside Smith.

Their century stand lacked fireworks but allowed Australia to recover from a dreadful start, and they were only parted when Carey, on 46 holed out to deep midwicket off Rashid. That wicket seemed to galvanise England’s premier leg-spinner, whose googly sent Marcus Stoinis packing second ball as Australia lurched to 118 for five.

Glenn Maxwell’s punchy 22 was ended when he tamely poked an Archer slower ball to Eoin Morgan at short cover while Pat Cummins nicked to slip off Rashid from one that moved away from him. Steve Smith survived an lbw review off Mark Wood, Hawkeye revealing the ball would have only clipped the top of the stumps, but the former Australia captain was sent packing shortly afterwards.

Jos Buttler removed his keeping glove and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end, Smith short of his ground and already walking back to the pavilion before the replays were shown. Smith’s departure was the start of Australia losing their last three wickets in the space of 12 balls, Woakes finishing as the pick of the bowlers with three for 20.

Jonny Bairstow had made centuries in each of his previous two innings - against India and New Zealand - and he immediately settled as England replied, sweetly timing his first ball through point for four. Jason Behrendorff’s next delivery nicked the Yorkshireman’s pad before hitting the bat but Australia opted against a review, ball-tracking showing the inswinger would only have clipped the top of off-stump.

Bairstow’s opening partner, Jason Roy, had made just one off his first 10 balls before creaming through the covers twice in a Mitchell Starc over, which yielded 10 to England’s total. It was not a gung-ho start from Roy and Bairstow against a left-arm duo who had taken nine out of the 10 wickets to fall when Australia defeated England at Lord’s in the group stage last month. But England’s electric opening pair soon put Starc, in particular, under pressure. The bowler was scorched towards the point boundary by Bairstow before a casual flick from Roy went the distance.

Roy’s quick wrists brought him four off Cummins before he and Bairstow brought up the 50-run partnership off the penultimate ball of the first powerplay. The introduction of Nathan Lyon failed to halt England’s charge, Roy greeting the spinner’s first ball with a six over his head before reverse-sweeping him for four.

However, in the next over Bairstow slipped as he completed his first run off Cummins and was in visible discomfort as he hobbled back for a second. He fell to his knees and there was a lengthy break in play as he was attended to by the physio, an injury to his left leg the apparent problem, but the Yorkshireman resumed his innings before Roy brought up a run-a-ball half-century with two aesthetically pleasing drives through the off-side.

Smith’s part-time leg-breaks were given an outing but Roy was utterly dismissive, bludgeoning the former Australia captain for three successive sixes, the crowd roaring their approval. The first six over long-on brought up the 100-run stand between the Surrey man and Bairstow. The third maximum - a monstrous hit to the same area - was, according to Warwickshire CCC, the first to land in the top tier at the Pavilion End in a competitive match.

England had advanced to 124 when the first wicket went down, Bairstow pinned on the back leg to be trapped lbw. A review was fruitless, showing the ball would have clattered the stumps. Bairstow therefore fell for 34 from 43 balls, four short of reaching 500 for the tournament. Starc welcomed Joe Root with a rib-ticker that England’s Test captain glanced fine for four, the first of three fours off the expensive left-armer, who ended his fifth over with figures of one for 50.

Roy was given out in controversial circumstances, umpire Kumar Dharmasena raising his finger after Cummins’ bouncer passed Roy down the leg-side and was pouched by Carey.

Roy attempted a review and Dharmasena signalled for one, only for Australia to correctly point out England did not have one left, Bairstow having burned it moments earlier. Roy remonstrated with both Dharmasena and his colleague Marais Erasmus before slowly trudging off the pitch, potentially risking the wrath of the International Cricket Council for his conduct after being given out. It brought an unfortunate end to a sparkling 85 from 65 balls, a knock containing nine fours and five sixes. But Root, with 49 from 46 balls, and Morgan, 45 from 39, calmly steered England home for a comprehensive victory with nearly 18 overs to spare.



D Warner c Bairstow b Woakes 9

A Finch lbw b Archer 0

S Smith run out 85

P Handscomb b Woakes 4

A Carey c sub b Rashid 46

M Stoinis lbw b Rashid 0

G Maxwell c Morgan b Archer 22

P Cummins c Root b Rashid 6

M Starc c Buttler b Woakes 29

J Behrendorff b Wood 1

N Lyon not out 5

EXTRAS: (lb6, w10) 16

TOTAL: (all out; 49 overs) 223

FOW: 1-4, 2-10, 3-14, 4-117, 5-118, 6-157, 7-166, 8-217, 9-217, 10-223

BOWLING: C Woakes 8-0-20-3, J Archer 10-0-32-2, B Stokes 4-0-22-0, M Wood 9-0-45-1, L Plunkett 8-0-44-0, A Rashid 10-0-54-3


J Roy c Carey b Cummins 85

J Bairstow lbw b Starc 34

J Root not out 49

E Morgan not out 45

EXTRAS: (lb1, w12) 13

TOTAL: (2 wkts; 32.1 overs) 226

FOW: 1-124, 2-147

BOWLING: J Behrendorff 8.1-2-38-0, M Starc 9-0-70-1, P Cummins 7-0-34-1, N Lyon 5-0-49-0, S Smith 1-0-21-0, M Stoinis 2-0-13-0

TOSS: Australia

MAN OF MATCH: Chris Woakes

UMPIRES: Kumar Dharmasena,

Marais Erasmus

TV UMPIRE: Chris Gaffaney

MATCH REFEREE: Ranjan Madugalle