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England dump Australia from Champions Trophy

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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128 Have your say

    Australia squandered dominant positions with bat and then ball as they were dumped out of the Champions Trophy by England last night.

    England will enter the semi-finals bulging with confidence after an impressive all-round performance, their finest of the tournament so far.

    Australia, meanwhile, will head home from what has been a strange campaign for them, with two washouts followed by a wildly up-and-down effort yesterday.

    First Australia threw away a rollicking start with the bat, slumping from 1-136 to be 277 all out, then they bulldozed England’s top order but failed to capitalise after having them 3-35.

    A wonderfully incisive new ball spell from Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc left England in tatters.

    Starc trapped Jason Roy in front to continue the English opener’s form trough. Then Hazlewood did what he so regularly does early in an ODI innings, getting top order batsmen to edge to slips. First it was Alex Hales then Joe Root who fed the cordon.

    Soon after, rain intervened, as it has done all too often this tournament. When England returned to the crease they brought with them a fierce intensity.

    Ignoring the perilous state of their innings, English skipper Eoin Morgan set about throwing the bat at almost every delivery he faced.

    Morgan was so intent on unsettling the Aussies he even charged Josh Hazlewood and slapped him down the ground for four.

    It was a risky batting strategy but one which paid off handsomely. Within a matter of overs the momentum of the game shifted. Australia went from dominating to being under pressure.

    Timing the ball beautifully, Morgan repeatedly pierced the off side with a sequence of drives. Then, after a sedate start to his innings, Stokes began to unfurl his full range of strokes.

    In the face of this ceaseless aggression, Australia’s bowlers lost their direction. Rather than being patient, they tried too hard to produce wicket taking deliveries. Boundaries duly followed with Morgan and Stokes tearing the Australian attack to shreds.

    Smith again displayed his curious lack of confidence in Adam Zampa, using both Travis Head and Moises Henriques before the specialist spinner. By the time Zampa came on Stokes and Morgan were running rampant.

    Earlier, Australia wasted a fantastic start to their innings. At 1-136 after 22.4 overs, with Smith and Finch cruising, Australia looked capable of making a monster score of 350-plus.

    The English TV commentators were criticising the home team for looking listless in the field and their bowling, to that point, had been wayward and lacking in penetration.

    Then Australia brought England back into the match via the awfully-weak dismissals of Finch, Smith and Moises Henriques. Finch had started his innings in scratchy touch, too often looking to smash the ball to pieces, before finding some nice rhythm once he placed trust in his timing.

    Then, out of nowhere, he tried to manufacture a lofted drive from a decent delivery from Ben Stokes and skied the ball for an easy catch. It was a terribly unnecessary stroke given the English all-rounder had regularly been serving up boundary balls, conceding 0-35 from 4.4 overs up until then.

    Finch’s impatient hoick brought to the crease much-maligned all-rounder Moises Henriques, who was averaging eight with the bat from his first 10 ODIs. Henriques looked in nice touch, nailing a square drive and hammering a pull shot for successive boundaries off Stokes.

    On 17 from 17 deliveries, Henriques appeared as though he may just play his first valuable knock for Australia. Then he ill-advisedly copied Finch and tried to bludgeon a boundary from a reasonable delivery.

    Henriques was beaten in the flight by English leggie Adil Rashid, who bowled wonderfully well, and lobbed the ball to mid-on.

    The quick wickets of Finch and Henriques placed great responsibility on the blade of Smith. The Australian skipper had played a patient innings notable for the way in which he had protected his wicket, despite not being in fluent form.

    This was what made it so jarring when Smith donated his wicket to Mark Wood, spooning a gentle half volley straight to mid-off. This collapse of 3-45 left Australia to lower their gaze from a total of 350 to something closer to the 300 mark.

    Some fine bowling by Wood and Rashid further dented Australia’s ambitions and in the end they were a tad lucky just to scrap to 277. Amid the stuttering second half of their innings, Australia were guided by blossoming all-rounder Travis Head.

    The 23-year-old showed fantastic composure during his unbeaten knock of 71 from 64 balls. This continued his stunning ODI form, which has seen him make 545 runs at 61 over the past six months.

    Just as poor as Smith’s use of Zampa has been his decision to bat Henriques at four ahead of Head and Maxwell.

    Henriques is unlikely to be seen again in ODIs for some time after flopping again. This tournament has underlined that Australia looked unbalanced with three all-rounders in their top six.

    As they now switch their sights to the 2019 World Cup, addressing that issue should be a priority.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (128)

    • June 11th 2017 @ 10:12am
      twodogs said | June 11th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      Two problems with Australia –
      Disjointed preparation for such a ‘major’ ?event,
      Quite possibly Smith is not a captain’s bootlace.

      • June 11th 2017 @ 12:12pm
        Rob said | June 11th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        Four problems. Poor bowling, poor batting, poor fielding and a Captain that would have the worst body language I’ve ever seen when thing are not going his way.
        Why would you promote Henriques ahead of Head and Maxwell in the order in a must win game? Stop screwing up the order.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2017 @ 2:42pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | June 11th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

          He didn’t. He’s had Henriques batting there all tournament.

          • June 12th 2017 @ 11:37am
            Bfc said | June 12th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

            Por que…?
            Meanwhile Ussie is “catching a cold..”. Don’t even mention the fact that Lynne could get a game…
            Smith’s apparent reluctance to use Zampa may be the result of the hype and hubris around the much vaunted pace attack…can’t understand why he would use his “part-timers’ before Zampa though…

        • June 12th 2017 @ 12:40am
          Don Freo said | June 12th 2017 @ 12:40am | ! Report

          Smith has a simple set of guidelines. Light blue cap has preference.

          An Aussie side without West Australians is not the best Aussie side…oh…and Ussie.

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2017 @ 4:14pm
            Cadfael said | June 12th 2017 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

            I don’t think there is too much wrong overall with Starc, Hazlwood and Cummins. Maxwell, Lynn, Wade and Head do not play or NSW. Remember, Smith declined to select the team after the last Ashes tour(?). So the errant selections fall on the selectors and Lehman. We went there with four recognised batsmen and of those Lynn didn’t get a look in when it was obvious we needed to have a full complement. We should have played the top 4 plus Head at five and there is the batting lineup. Henriques and Maxwell were poor.

            Compare our lineup to England. SA and India who all went in with a full batting complement. We didn’t deserve to advance to the semis. It all boils down to the selectors picking a bum side. Or were thety playing politicsto shopw who is running the game here.

    • June 11th 2017 @ 10:13am
      Tom said | June 11th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      I thought Australia had the best bowling attack in the competition *sniggers*

    • June 11th 2017 @ 10:17am
      Onside said | June 11th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Picking up a ‘short single’ now means buying another stand alone cottage in the inner city area.

      The Aussies can finally get back to the more pressing business of multiplying their remuneration.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | June 11th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

        Who’s trying to multiply their remuneration? In fact, the CA proposal would mean more money for most of the top players at the expense of state players and other fringe players. The top Aussie cricketers are actually standing firm with their fellow players despite the fact that doing so is meaning less money for themselves than they otherwise could get.

        • June 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm
          Onside said | June 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

          Thanks Chris, I have been reading this back to front.

        • June 11th 2017 @ 5:12pm
          George said | June 11th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

          Well said Chris. I am impressed with the solidarity.

          Also, $utherland has to go.

          • June 12th 2017 @ 2:05am
            Bakkies said | June 12th 2017 @ 2:05am | ! Report

            Too right he is becoming like John O’Neill. Using the place as his own personal fiefdom

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2017 @ 10:21am
          Rellum said | June 12th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          They have also put back into grass roots something like $20mil of their own money because they are worried about the future of the game.

    • June 11th 2017 @ 10:22am
      Brasstax said | June 11th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      Smith should be sacked as captain till he learns how to respect and handle spinners in his team especially in the ODIs. With ODIs pitches all over the world strikingly similar and full of runs, spin bowling and more importantly bowling spinners at the right stages has become crucial to restricting run flow and winning games.

      Smith seems to have a mental block when it comes to calling his spinner on to bowl. And when he does, it usually is the last resort and by then the game is done and dusted against the Aussies. He steadfastly refuses to bowl Maxwell and has arguably got away with it with people defending him saying he doesn’t want to concede easy runs to even saying he has orders from Lehman not to bowl him.

      But what about Zampa? His handling of an incredibly talented 22 year old who was the best ODI spinner last year is inexcusable and that alone warrants his sacking. If you are clueless on how to handle your spin bowlers, then you are not good enough to be captain.

      • June 12th 2017 @ 5:39am
        qwetzen said | June 12th 2017 @ 5:39am | ! Report

        A Moment of Pedantry: Zampa is 25.

        • June 13th 2017 @ 11:38am
          James said | June 13th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          Its not that pedantry, the difference between a 22 and a 25 year old in the sporting realm is usually pretty big. A 22 year old you can excuse youth or inexperience but a 25 year old should be good enough.

    • June 11th 2017 @ 10:24am
      Brasstax said | June 11th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      I expect India to beat South Africa today as they know how to win big games and Kohli must be smarting after the Sri Lankan upset.

      • June 11th 2017 @ 10:00pm
        Matth said | June 11th 2017 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

        South Africa will find some way to mess it up, and as I type this, two run outs including ABDV.

    • June 11th 2017 @ 10:34am
      George said | June 11th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

      Where was the click bait headline this morning?

      • June 11th 2017 @ 11:03am
        Mitcher said | June 11th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        Seems like those headlines are working a treat on you in any case.

        • June 11th 2017 @ 5:09pm
          George said | June 11th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report


          But maybe ‘Unlucky Australia beaten by the weather and “overhyped England”‘- would have fitted the narrative.

          I genuinely enjoy Ronan’s articles / any input from the Zavos boys – not so much

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