England v Australia, Champions Trophy, Group A, Edgbaston June 10, 2017

Wood, Stokes close the door on Australia


England 240 for 4 (Stokes 102*, Morgan 87) beat Australia 277 for 9 (Head 71, Finch 68, Smith 56, Wood 4-33, Rashid 4-41) by 40 runs (DLS method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 02:40
Tait: Australia let the game slip away

As per a chorus in the Eric Hollies Stand cribbed from Three Lions and directed at Aaron Finch, Australia are going home. That they are doing so has less to do with damp English weather than the verve of the home side, personified by the pace of Mark Wood, the guile of Adil Rashid, the leadership of Eoin Morgan and the raw power of Ben Stokes.

This was a meeting between a confident, aggressive England favoured to lift the Champions Trophy and an out-of-season Australia playing their first completed match of the trip. With the bat and then the ball, Steven Smith's side hinted at their full capability, but were unable to follow through as Morgan's men proved much the more resilient team when challenged. Having themselves knocked out New Zealand, a delighted Bangladesh are into the semi-finals.

England did not lose their way when Finch and Smith set a commendable platform for Australia, and held their nerve once again when Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc nipped the new ball about with venom to pick up three early wickets. By contrast Australia's innings featured a pair of collapses, then an inability to wrestle momentum back once Morgan and Stokes found their range after a brief rain delay.

Morgan's intent was made plain with a pair of boundaries from Starc in the first over on resumption, and Stokes was soon following suit with a succession of meaty blows that suggested a wonderfully uncluttered mind. For most of their stand, Smith seemed to be hoping either batsman would simply make a mistake as he had; England were in no mood to be so charitable - neither in terms of this tournament, nor the fact an Ashes series sits six months away. They were consequently well ahead of the runs required by the time the showers returned to end proceedings early.

Play 01:35
ESPNcricinfo Match Report - Stokes combines forces with Wood and Rashid to eliminate Australia

The frailties of Smith's side seemed as much to do with a lack of sharpness as a deficit in quality, though Moises Henriques' selection at No. 4 seemed odd when considering a limited-overs batsman as formidable as Morgan occupies the equivalent berth for England. Finch and Smith appeared capable of big innings but both lost their wickets to miscues, before the middle and lower order could make nothing of Rashid's legbreaks and googlies.

Travis Head played busily and well, but was left stranded as Rashid and Wood orchestrated the loss of 5 for 15 from the relatively lofty Australian position of 239 for 4 in the 43rd over. Of the batsmen, only David Warner could say he was legitimately beaten by fine delivery, while Glenn Maxwell fell victim to an excellent catch by Jason Roy, juggling the ball while stepping over the midwicket boundary to retain his balance.

Warner and Finch had begun in strong fashion, hammering numerous short balls to the boundary on a pitch that was dry and brimful of runs. Wood's well-pitched delivery running across Warner found an outside edge to break the stand at 40, before Finch and Smith purred along at a run a ball without seeming in trouble.

A century beckoned for Finch, in his most fluent ODI contribution for quite some time, but a mistimed drive at Stokes was skied to a grateful Morgan. Smith, too, looked good for three figures, but after Henriques flattered to deceive in a brief stay that ended when he tugged Rashid to mid-on, the captain was too early into a drive when Wood returned to the bowling crease and chipped a tame catch to mid-off.

Head and Maxwell combined for another useful stand, and appeared ready to launch when Maxwell swatted Wood just within the reach of Roy's outstretched hands and then nimble feet to claim a fair catch. Rashid then found Matthew Wade and the bowlers susceptible to his guile, the flurry of wickets bringing a raucous crowd to their feet.

The resultant collapse left 300 out of reach, but the No. 11 Hazlewood was at least able to keep Head company in the closing overs to add 23 precious runs. Head's innings showed tremendous composure, and also suggested he may be due for further promotion up the batting order.

Very little swing has been discernible during the competition, but Starc found the merest hint of curve to pin an out of sorts Roy lbw in the first over of England's reply. Hazlewood's initial rhythm was excellent, and neither Alex Hales nor Joe Root could be overly blamed for edging a pair of swift, bouncing and seaming deliveries.

If the innings had a pivotal moment, it probably arrived a couple of overs before Root's exit, when Matthew Wade failed to hang onto a chance gloved down the leg side by Morgan. That reprieve led to Morgan and Stokes playing with unbridled freedom after the rain delay, pinging boundaries and sixes in the fashion England supporters have become familiar with since Trevor Bayliss was charged with bringing the team's ODI approach into the 21st century.

England romped well ahead of the par score in the event of any further showers, while an increasingly desperate Smith tried Head, Henriques and Maxwell in addition to his pace bowlers and Adam Zampa. The stand was worth 159 in 26.1 overs and the target well within sight by the time a running mix-up and Zampa direct hit did for Morgan on 87.

Jos Buttler offered one final moment of hope for Australia when he cut Starc in the air towards backward point, but Maxwell lost the ball in the crowd - at 24,277, an ODI record for Edgbaston - and Stokes went on to an exceptional hundred that ensured England were 40 runs ahead of the par score when the rain returned.

Australia are left with plenty of questions, from whether the pyrotechnics of Chris Lynn and Marcus Stoinis should have been tried to the matter of how much the current pay dispute clouded the players' minds. Whatever the answers, one thing is certain: Smith's team will have to lift several notches for the Ashes, as England evidently have.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SS1980 on June 13, 2017, 9:29 GMT

    It's fun reading BD fans' comments. They and their players are like pakistanis who put only themselves under pressure by their own chest beating before the match............Play like an underdog and you might cause an upset or two since your player can play without pressure

  • TheCowCorner on June 12, 2017, 21:21 GMT

    I said it number of times, Eng should rest their top order for the Oz game, and guess what Eng made it without their top order delivering. Forget Stokes, Jos alone could have made it

  • srinivas bhanu on June 12, 2017, 7:24 GMT

    Call it fatigue,bad luck,the recent pay dispute with the Board, the Aussie's were never in the reckoning for the CT and the bad weather just added up for their cup of woes.Starc after the injury lay off had been rusty and the dreaded pace attack was never menacing at all, Eon Morgan's and Ben Stokes innings clearly indicating the lack of bite in the Aussie bowling department. With the World Cup nearing the Aussies really have problems aplenty to defend the title.

  • DHARIHAR on June 12, 2017, 6:47 GMT

    I can't find any difference between SA and END. The only difference is SA would choke in QF or SF. Rather ENG will choke in Final. Ha ha ha!!

  • cool_spectator on June 11, 2017, 16:21 GMT

    Relax BD guys !!! India won. See you in the SF. Thanks to SL for giving us the scare we needed. Happy that it did not come in the knockouts. Bring the BD team on :)

  • unfairworld on June 11, 2017, 16:02 GMT

    Australia had their fair chance against England. If someone is not ready to count that as a fair chance that means they already knew prior to the game that England will thrash Australia. If Australia already knew that they can't win against England, then what is the point in Australia playing this tournament while England came as the most probable team to become one of the two finalists? Should we now assume that all the babbling here about luck is just to participate in the semi- final or final? It is understandable though when Australia team is consists of players like Henriques, Wade, Maxwell, Finch; none is there to depend on. Not to mention Warner also probably performs well under particular condition and Smith is not a smart captain.

    Two games washed away and any discussion based on probability about the results that didn't happen and will never happen, is unfruitful. Something has a very little chance to occur doesn't necessarily mean it will not occur on a certain day.

  • stparvez on June 11, 2017, 12:56 GMT

    I do not understand this whole idea of the 'deserving team'. What's the point of having an ICC tournament? Cannot we just give the trophy to the number one ranked team? Or we can simply start the tournament from the semi with the top four ranked team participating. Is that's what some people are suggesting when they talk about the 'deserving team'. No doubt, Bangladesh had some rain luck. But they had to beat New Zealand to stay in the tournament. And that's what they did, even in the most difficult of circumstances. It was their last group match and they showed the determination to stay in the tournament. Australia had that chance with England too. All they needed to do was to win that game to move in to the semi, which they could not. If Australia cannot go to the semi because rain ruined their chance with Bangladesh, then they have bigger things to worry about then the rain; like having a number 4 at hendricks.

  • Herath-UK on June 11, 2017, 10:38 GMT

    You live in the presence & then thinking it is England to meet at the SF so 'unfair' when the other team will have a cakewalk to the final. Only hope is the saviour the rain, but no rain in the horizon at all today, why it does not rain in England!

  • Mayan_Mahbub on June 11, 2017, 10:09 GMT

    Kashomasho.... No disrespect to Australia. But They would have lost the game against NZ if it wasn't washed out. So, points of everyone except England would be same if there was no washouts.

  • cricfan66521146 on June 11, 2017, 10:09 GMT

    INDIAN_PAKKU & PRABHAKAR DAS: IND is most overhyped. BD deserved to be in the semi finals & so it happened because of their performance NOT because of you ppl's unrealistic & disrespectful comments, before every match you ppl say the same especially since more than last 2 years but ate your own words lol...rain & luck wasn't important here as it happened with AUS also but couldn't win the last game even against ENG. Now IND will be knocked to out to IND soon, so wait at the airport to greet them.

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