Sport Cricket Aussies make a statement by thrashing England
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Aussies make a statement by thrashing England

Finch hit more sixes in an innings than Bradman did in a career. Photo: AAP
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A dashing century from Aaron Finch and a five-wicket haul from Mitch Marsh powered Australia to a 111-run win over England in Saturday’s World Cup opener.

Finch top-scored with 135 at the MCG, all of those runs coming after Chris Woakes put down a regulation chance in the first over.

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Fellow Victorian Glenn Maxwell then smacked 66 runs from 40 balls as Australia posted a total of 9-342, with England leaking a total of 76 runs in the final six overs.

Marsh finished with career-best figures of 5-33 from nine overs, while England were rolled for 231 in the 42nd over.

Victory for the visitors was essentially impossible when they slumped to 6-92 in the 22nd over.

But England never looked capable of keeping track with the required run-rate at any point.

It was no great surprise.

Mitch Marsh snared five wickets for the winners. Photo: Getty
Mitch Marsh snared five wickets for the winners. Photo: Getty

The home side fell two runs short of the record one-day international (ODI) score at the venue, 8-344 compiled by the World XI in the 2005 tsunami relief match.

The bumper crowd of 84,336 held its collective breath when Finch clipped his second delivery to Woakes at square leg.

The embarrassing drop would have been painful enough for Woakes.

The next three hours would have been downright torturous, with Finch knuckling down and producing a mature knock in his maiden World Cup appearance.

The 28-year-old cracked three sixes, but there was so much more to his man-of-the-match knock.

Australia raced to 0-51 after 37 balls, Finch and David Warner feasting on anything short or full dished up by James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Finch was forced to change gears after a Broad-inspired comeback reduced the hosts to 3-70.

George Bailey and Finch then went nine overs without a boundary, but their settling 146-run partnership was exactly what the situation called for.

Finch was almost run out on 123 in the 36th over, but survived thanks to a woeful return from James Taylor.

He was not so lucky the following over when he set off for a misplaced single, with England captain Eoin Morgan’s direct hit finding Finch well short of his ground.

Finch was furious with himself, but Maxwell pushed Australia’s total well beyond 300 after Morgan opted to field first.

Stand-in skipper Bailey was pleasantly surprised by his counterpart’s decision.

“We were looking to bat, so very happy,” Bailey said at the toss.

With England chasing 343, Mitchell Starc struck first with the new ball before Marsh rammed home Australia’s advantage with the next five wickets – a mix of good balls and terrible shots.

Taylor (98no) and Woakes (37) put on a 92-run stand, delaying the inevitable.

The match ended in farcical scenes, umpire Aleem Dar’s lbw verdict overturned when Taylor reviewed it.

Anderson was then adjudged run out, despite Taylor’s pleas that it should have been dead ball.

Australia next face Bangladesh in Brisbane next Saturday, when Michael Clarke will return to the XI.

– AAP

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