Australia frittered away a superb start to let England bowlers claw back and eventually restrict them to 285/7 in 50 overs in a high-octane World Cup group stage clash at the Lord’s here on Tuesday. Skipper Aaron Finch scored 100 off 116 balls, his innings laced with 11 fours and two sixes, as the Aussies were off to a dream start with both openers milking the English bowlers to all corners of the ground with ease. Finch and David Warner (53; 61b, 4×6) shared a 123-run opening stand in just 22.4 overs before Moeen Ali (1/42) had Warner caught by Joe Root at backward point.
Usman Khawaja (23) and Finch then continued the good work with a 50-run partnership but Ben Stokes (1/29) castled the former with a delivery right into the blockhole which shaped back to crash into his stumps. Finch, who scored 53 in the last game against Bangladesh, brought up his 15th ODI hundred off 115 balls. But all his good work was undone in the very next delivery as he was sucked into hooking a Jofra Archer (1/56) short ball straight down the throat of Chris Woakes at fine leg.
Finch was seemingly furious with his shot selection and his team slumped from there on as Glenn Maxwell (12) got out cheaply to Mark Wood and Marcus Stoinis (8) was run out. Wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey’s 38-run unbeaten cameo (27b, 4×5) helped the Aussies recover a fair bit in the end, but they could still not manage a 300-plus score which looked a certainty as long as Finch was at the crease. For England, Chris Woakes (2/46) returned best figures but it was a collective effort with the ball for the hosts.
Steve Smith (38; 34b, 4×5) tried to up the ante but in the process holed out to Archer at long on off Woakes as England firmly wrested back control. From 185/3 in the 36th over when Finch departed, the Aussies could manage another 100 runs for the loss of four wickets in 15-odd overs.
Brief scores: Australia: 285/7 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 100, David Warner 53; Chris Woakes 2/46) vs England