England bowl out Aussies for 223 after Smith's 85
Birmingham: A hostile bowling performance from England pacers restricted Australia to 223 all out despite a valiant 85 from Steve Smith in the second World Cup semifinal here on Thursday.
Courtesy Smith (85 off 119), Australia got something to bowl at after a fiery opening spell from Chris Woakes (3/20) and Jofra Archer (2/32) had them gasping for breath at 14 for three.
The gutsy right-hander got some help from Alex Carey (46 off 70) and Mitchell Starc (29 off 36) in posting a fighting total for Australia who were eventually bowled out in 49 overs. Besides the England pacers, leggie Adil Rashid (3/54) made a significant contribution by taking crucial wickets in the middle overs.
Australia skipper Aaron Finch, who opted to bat, was the first to go after Archer trapped in front of the stumps with a full length ball.
Woakes too was breathing fire from the other end as he got one to jump off a length, surprising the in-form David Warner (9) who ended up edging it to first slip.
Peter Handscomb, playing his first game of the tournament, joined Smith in the middle but lasted only 12 balls. Woakes got another one to nip back in off the seam and Handscomb played all over it to have his stumps rattled.
Smith now had an arduous task of resurrecting the innings and he found support from Carey, who played
a brave knock despite being hit on the chin off a sharp Archer bouncer.
Such was the impact of the blow that his helmet flew off and blood started dripping from his chin, so much so that he had to apply bandage around his face.
But Carey carried on and forged a valuable 103-run stand with Smith who once again delivered in a knock-out game.
With their partnership going strong, it seemed Australia were out of the woods but Rashid ensured England were back on top with a double strike that saw the back of Carey and Marcus Stoinis.
While Carey failed to clear the man at deep mid-wicket, Stoinis was done in by a wrong one that had him leg Lbw.
With Glenn Maxwell (22) and Pat Cummins too departing early, a stranded Smith got much needed help from Mitchell Starc (29 off 36) as the duo shared a 51-run stand to push the total past 200. It took a brilliant direct hit from keeper Jos Buttler to dismiss Smith, whose gritty knock comprised six fours.