Steve Smith’s century gives Australia World Cup warm-up win over England

first_imgPhoney wars do not end up much sillier than this World Cup warm-up. Jos Buttler offered a spectacle with a whirlwind half century, after Steve Smith had done the same with a hundred, while a close finish provided some fun as England were bowled out 12 runs short of Australia’s 297.Admittedly any England-Australia match has cachet. The prospect of this dominant home side getting one over their biggest rivals drew 10,000 people to the Hampshire Bowl outside Southampton.But it is hard for any practice match to feel real and this one was more farce than fierce. Australia fielded 12 players, leaving out their premier pacemen, Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummins, as well as their most damaging batsman, Glenn Maxwell.England started with noble intentions to field 11 but went through 15 in the field as injury precautions reduced them to using the fielding coach Paul Collingwood for much of the afternoon, one day shy of his 43rd birthday. An England fan dressed as a cricket ball holds a piece of sandpaper as Australia’s Marcus Stoinis stands in the field. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images Support The Guardian The Spin: sign up and get our weekly cricket email. The Observer Topics Twitter Share on LinkedIn Read more Australia sport Mark Wood to wait on scan after injury in England’s World Cup warm-up loss Share on WhatsApp Facebook Pinterest “I heard a few things as I went out to bat but it didn’t really get to me,” said Smith after play. “I’m trying to just keep my head down and do my job. It doesn’t bother me. I know that I’ve got the support of my teammates up on the balcony, and for me that’s the most important thing.”There was a hint of warning for opponents though, after the latest in a string of big warm-up scores. “I’m not reading too much into it, they’re just practice games at the moment. Hopefully I can keep this form for the real stuff and we’ll make a judgment then.”The Australians were not concerned about the result, stacking their middle order with sedate strokemakers in Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja. Warner’s 43 was the next best behind Smith, the wicketkeeper Alex Carey’s 30 from 14 the most aggressive. Australia’s vulnerability lies in a lack of power hitting.England would fancy chasing 297 most days, but after their shambles in the field, they were not switched on. Jonny Bairstow, Roy and Stokes all fell forcing the pace. The reserve batsman James Vince held things together with a composed 64 before steering Jason Behrendorff to short third man. England were missing their captain, Eoin Morgan, with a fractured finger, the leg-spinner Adil Rashid with a sore shoulder and Jofra Archer for rest. Chris Woakes had to fill in for Morgan but a sore knee stopped him from bowling.Mark Wood pulled up sore in his fourth over and went for a precautionary scan on his ankle. Archer came on to substitute, then left as quickly after a heavy fall on the boundary. Joe Root had been given a free day after a family bereavement but had to field for Archer, then when Liam Plunkett went off for treatment the clarion call extended to Collingwood to put on Wood’s shirt.But the medical ward still was not done. Jason Roy took a blow to the forearm at cover, then the reserve spinner Liam Dawson cut his finger and was excused from batting. In the end England officially used 13 players, sending in Rashid and Archer late with the bat. The end came with Archer, who was not listed to play for England, being run out by Maxwell, who was not listed to play for Australia. … we have a small favour to ask. 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Thank you.center_img match reports Cricket Read more Since you’re here… Australia cricket team Australia beat England by 12 runs in Cricket World Cup warmup – as it happened England cricket team Buttler played down the events of the day. “Hopefully we’ll just get them all out of the way now,” he said of England’s injuries, while stressing that the absences were precautionary. “That’s the thing, they are warm-up games and you can play it safe because we do want these guys fit and available for the first game of the World Cup.”He did confirm the impression that for England, this practice outing was expendable. “We were probably ready for the tournament to start yesterday. Everyone’s just chomping at the bit.”The day’s pantomime nature was also apparent while Australia batted. The spectator dressed as a giant inflatable cricket ball with a sandpaper hat summed up the local attitude. David Warner was booed to the crease, then a bigger chorus of opprobrium greeted the former Australian captain Smith.It was repeated as Smith reached fifty, then a hundred. His accumulation gave way to carnival mode, slashing Stokes over backward point for six before ramping Plunkett over the wicketkeeper. Only what looked like an incorrect caught-and-bowled decision got rid of him for 116. Share on Twitter Share via Email Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Buttler had come and gone for 52 from 31 balls, including 24 from one Nathan Coulter-Nile over. At 171 for three England were cruising but Australia kept pegging back wickets and forced the close finish.One pantomime performer, though, was not interested. Warner did as he has done during his suspension, keeping his head down. When Bairstow caught Warner in the first innings, the Englishman saluted the crowd and raised a cheer. When Warner caught Bairstow he strolled in with minimal celebration.If the focus on Smith and Warner is not already tedious, it soon will be. One thing, though, was notable. While booing greeted Smith’s century, so did applause, and the latter lasted longer. Acclaim can outlast derision, even when the stakes are low. Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more