Steve Smith hits fine ton as Australia edge England
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 26/05/19 9:50am
Steve Smith made a superb hundred for Australia as they beat England by 12 runs in a hard-fought World Cup warm-up game in Southampton.
The former captain scored 116 from 102 before being dismissed in the final over of the innings as Australia posted 297-9 from their 50 overs.
A patient half-century from James Vince (64) and Jos Buttler's blistering 52 from 31 balls put England in pole position in the chase but after the pair were dismissed with five overs of each other, the hosts faltered.
The run out of Chris Woakes (40) in the 48th over all-but ended England's chances and they were eventually bowled out for 285 with three balls left in the innings.
While England will be confident of bouncing back from the defeat, especially given the absence of a number of key players, they did suffer another two injury scares with Mark Wood and Liam Dawson forced off the field during the Australia innings.
Wood pulled up in his run up and has undergone a precautionary scan on his left foot while Dawson did not bat after splitting the skin on his right ring finger in the field.
Wood (1-19) only managed to bowl 3.1 overs but in that time he claimed the wicket of Aaron Finch (14) as England kept the Australian openers relatively quiet in the early stages.
David Warner made 43 without ever really getting into his stride and eventually holed out off Plunkett, who added the wicket of Shaun Marsh (30) as he continued his happy knack of taking wickets in the middle overs.
However, Smith looked at home at the crease from the off and it took a moment of madness from Usman Khawaja (31), dancing past a delivery from Dawson (1-50), to end a fourth-wicket stand of 79.
Although Marcus Stoinis (13) and Alex Carey (30), after a lively 14-ball cameo, followed Khawaja back to the dressing room, Smith was in control and having carved Stokes over backward point for a remarkable six to reach 99, a more conventional single took him to three figures from 94 balls.
Plunkett bowled Nathan Coulter-Nile to end with figures of 4-69 before Smith was rather oddly given out caught and bowled to Tom Curran (1-54) by the third umpire, despite replays appearing to show it was a bump-ball as Australia came up just short of 300.
England lost Jonny Bairstow (12) early in the reply, caught by Warner off Jason Behrendorff, and when Jason Roy (32), who was dropped on 0 by Smith, and Ben Stokes (20) were dismissed, England were 100-3 in the 22nd over and runs were proving hard to come by.
That all changed when Buttler came in. With Vince content to keep things ticking over, Buttler signalled his intent by thumping Adam Zampa over midwicket for six.
A couple of overs later, Buttler went again, this time taking 24 from Coulter-Nile's over, including three fours and two sixes.
Another four in Coulter-Nile's next took the stand-in England skipper to a 30-ball fifty but the Aussie seamer had his revenge next ball as he deceived Buttler with a slower ball and had him caught at midwicket.
Vince reached his rather more sedate fifty from 62 balls and got to 64 before falling to Behrendorff, bringing Australia right back into the game.
Moeen Ali and Woakes, playing as a batsman, took England into the final 10 overs needing just a run-a-ball and although Ali (22) and Curran (2) fell, the rate remained manageable.
The pendulum swung back Australia's way when Woakes (40) was run out in the 48th over with England needing 23 to win. And with Dawson and Wood unable to bat, Adil Rashid, not named in the original XI, came in at No 10.
Kane Richardson bowled a superb penultimate over, costing just six, to leave England needing 15 from the final over but Plunkett was caught in the deep and Jofra Archer, another not in the initial team, was run out to end the hosts' chase.
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Meanwhile, at The Oval, New Zealand beat India by six wickets.
The Black Caps bowled India out for 179 - Trent Boult taking 4-33 - and it could have been worse for India, but for a late fifty from Ravi Jadeja (54).
In reply, New Zealand eased to their target in 37.1 overs, with captain Kane Williamson (67) and Ross Taylor (71) both scoring half centuries.
You can watch every match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with England vs South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, May 30.