London: Aaron Finch (100, 116b, 11×4, 2×6) rose to the occasion with his second century of the tournament before England rallied to restrict arch rivals Australia at 285 for seven in their blockbuster World Cup showdown here Tuesday.
Comfortably placed at 185 for three in the 36th over, Australia were headed for a 300-plus total, but lost the plot due to England’s fine comeback and lack of discretion on part of most of the batsmen who followed Finch and David Warner (61b, 6×4).
Sent into bat after Eoin Morgan called it right at the toss, Australia were given another fine start by their in-from openers, who took them to 123 in the 23rd over, when the tournament leading scorer David Warner fell, caught by Chris Woakes off Jofra Archer (1/56).
Dropped on 15, Finch went on to make his 15th ODI century off 115 balls, but got out in the very next ball to leave the responsibility of finishing the innings in style on Steve Smith’s (38, 34b, 5×4) shoulders.
Smith batted positively until he was sent back by Woakes (2/46), while Alex Carey smashed 38 (27b, 5×4), but the defending champions seemed to have lost the plot with the wickets of Glenn Maxwell (12) and Marcus Stoinis (8).
Maxwell hit Archer for a four and six but fell soon to Mark Wood and Australia then had been reduced to 228 for five. Stoinis was run out in the 42nd over due to the combined efforts of Jonny Bairstow, Adi Rashid and Jos Buttler.
Earlier, Warner and Finch shared another 100-plus stand for the first wicket. It was the pair’s fifth successive partnership of 50 or more at the tournament, a World Cup record.
Mixing caution with aggression, Finch and Warner pulled, cut and drove with confidence to give Australia upper hand early on in the innings.