“Fortress Edgbaston” worked its magic yet again as England beat Australia by 40 runs (D/L) to charge into the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals with a 100 per cent group record.
The Aussies remain without an ODI win over England in Birmingham since 1993 after Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan smashed the home side to victory on another memorable Edgbaston occasion.
Chasing Australia’s 277 for nine, England hit early trouble at 35 for three before Stokes (an unbeaten 106 from 109 balls) and Morgan (87 from 81) added 159 in 158 balls.
Ever since they were bowled out for 36 on their first Test visit, way back in 1902, the Aussies have endured regular punishment in Birmingham
The 24,227 crowd, another record for an Edgbaston ODI, loved every moment of it. As England’s charge gathered momentum, Aaron Finch, fielding on the Hollies Stand side boundary, suddenly acquired thousands of fans in the seats behind him. To his enormous credit, Finch took the sustained chanting of his name in great spirit – an evocation of the humour and respect that makes cricket the greatest game of all.
England were 240 for four from 40.2 overs, way ahead of D/L par, when the rain arrived.
While England march on as genuine contenders to lift the trophy, Australia’s tournament is over without a victory, two washouts having been followed by a defeat which extended their history of suffering against England at Edgbaston.
Ever since they were bowled out for 36 on their first Test visit, way back in 1902, the Aussies have endured regular punishment in Birmingham – from the likes of Colin Cowdrey (1968), Ian Botham (1981), David Gower (1985), Andrew Flintoff (2005) and James Anderson (2015). Now to that list can be added the names of Stokes and Morgan, as well as Adil Rashid and Mark Wood who took four wickets apiece to reel Australia’s innings in after it appeared destined for a total well over 300.
At 239 for four in the 43rd over, with Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell going well, Steve Smith’s side was motoring. But then Maxwell pulled Wood towards the Hollies Stand and Jason Roy took a sensational catch, parrying the ball right on the boundary then tossing it up before his momentum took him over the rope before calmly stepping back on to the field to complete the catch.
Stokes’ century, reached with England closing in on victory, was greeted by a mighty roar.
That piece of brilliance triggered the loss of five wickets for 15 runs in 16 balls. Wood finished with four for 33, including a final spell of 3-0-7-2, and Rashid four for 41, his final spell coming in at 3-0-15-3.
England then endured a rocky start as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood each took a wicket with their second ball to dismiss Jason Roy and Alex Hales respectively. Joe Root soon followed but to a cacophonous backdrop of, among other chants, “Finchy’s going home,” Stokes and Morgan shunted Australia to the exit door by clubbing 21 fours and seven sixes.
After Morgan was run out, Jos Buttler kept the momentum high with 29 from 32 balls. Stokes’ century, reached with England closing in on victory, was greeted by a mighty roar. The rain then arrived to deny the match a proper climax but it was job done, emphatically and stylishly, by England.