Proteas edge win despite Warner century to leave Australia facing England clash

By Sports Desk July 06, 2019
Australia's David Warner celebrates his century against South Africa. Australia's David Warner celebrates his century against South Africa.

David Warner's superb 122 was in vain as Australia lost a thriller by 10 runs to South Africa, a result that means the Cricket World Cup holders will face England in the semi-finals.

India's defeat of Sri Lanka earlier on Saturday meant Australia had to win in Manchester to avoid the hosts in the last four and instead book a clash with trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

But in the final match of the group stage the Proteas produced one of the best team performances of the tournament so far to inflict Australia's second defeat of the competition.

Faf du Plessis made South Africa's first century of the World Cup and his 12th in ODI cricket. The former Lancashire batsman thrived with a masterful round 100 on his return to Old Trafford as South Africa posted an imposing 325 for six.

Rassie van der Dussen (95) almost followed his captain to three figures, trying to heave a six off Pat Cummins' last ball of the South Africa innings, but instead picked out Glenn Maxwell in the deep.

Warner should then have been run out by Kagiso Rabada (3-56) in the first over of Australia's reply - the opener facing South Africa for the first time since last year's ball-tampering scandal - and he seemed set to take full advantage of that lapse.

When Quinton de Kock, who made 52 and ran out Marcus Stoinis, produced a majestic catch off Chris Morris' bowling to remove Maxwell for 12, Australia were 119 for four and heading for an eighth loss in nine ODIs against South Africa, only for Warner and Alex Carey to rebuild.

But a wonderful flying Morris catch saw Warner depart as he looked to find fifth gear and, when explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Carey fell to Morris for a buccaneering 85 off 69 balls, Australia were on the brink of defeat.

Usman Khawaja (18) bravely returned to the crease after earlier retiring hurt with an apparent hamstring injury, but diverted the ball on to the top of the stumps while playing a scoop and South Africa closed out their third win of the World Cup.

STARC ON BRINK OF HISTORY

The leader of Australia's attack was not at his best in Manchester, Mitchell Starc's first ball going for four wides in a wayward opening over that cost 14 runs and gave the Proteas a flying start.

But a yorker that ripped through Dwaine Pretorius' defences gave Starc his 26th wicket of the tournament, moving him level with Australia great Glenn McGrath as the most prolific bowler in a single World Cup.

With at least one knockout match still to play, the 29-year-old is almost certain to sit top of the pile regardless of whether or not Australia successfully defend their title, while his late efforts with the bat - hitting 16 off 11 balls - almost set up an improbable victory.

 


WARNER PASSES 600 BUT ROHIT LEADS

There is no doubt Warner is having a quite brilliant World Cup - this was his third century - but despite passing 600 runs for the tournament he is second behind India opener Rohit Sharma in the batting tables.

A third century in four ODI appearances against the Proteas was fully deserved as he punished Rabada's mistake and, if Australia are to win the tournament for a sixth time, there is no doubting Warner holds the key.

He will certainly relish a clash with pre-tournament favourites England. That match will take place on Thursday at Edgbaston, where Eoin Morgan's side have a terrific record.


DUMINY & TAHIR WAVE GOODBYE

There was a winning farewell for veteran Proteas duo JP Duminy and Imran Tahir as both men played their final ODI matches for South Africa.

Tahir was able to roll out his famous celebration when he claimed the prized wicket of Australia captain Aaron Finch for three but he later missed a caught and bowled chance to remove Carey, which could have proven costly.

Duminy's contribution - scoring only 14 runs and taking no wickets from four overs - was more low-key but the Proteas will miss his all-round efforts as they look to rebuild after an underwhelming World Cup that at least ended on a high.

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    Steve Smith receiving a sickening blow from a Jofra Archer bouncer on day four of the second Ashes Test jabbed at painful memories of Phillip Hughes' tragic death for Australia coach Justin Langer.

    Lord's was enraptured by a gripping passage of Test match action as Smith sought to stand firm in face of a ferocious barrage from debutant England paceman Archer.

    Having worn a lifting delivery on the forearm, Smith was left prone on the turf when he ducked into an Archer bouncer, prompting immediate concern.

    Australia opener Hughes died after being struck on the back of his neck during a Sheffield Shield game in November 2014. David Warner, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Brad Haddin – all members of the Australia touring party – played in that match at the SCG.

    "You never like seeing your players get hit like that," Langer told a news conference. "There's obviously some pretty rough memories of a blow like that. So there's no fun in it."

    Smith appeared frustrated to have to leave the field after a lengthy medical assessment but, after coming through concussion tests, he returned when Peter Siddle was out caught behind to Chris Woakes.

    The same bowler removed Smith for 92 – comfortably the most significant contribution to Australia's 250 all out before England closed on 96 for four, a lead of 104.

    "As soon as he got up in the medical room he was saying, 'I'm going okay'. The doctor said he had passed the concussion tests," Langer explained.

    "As soon as he got back in the dressing room he was ready to go back out there again. These are like my sons. You're never going to put them in harm's way.

    "He said, 'I can't get up on the [Lord's] honours board unless I'm out batting'. All he was concerned about was that he wasn't going to play his forward defence because his arm was hurting for his top-hand grip.

    "I asked him privately two or three times and in front of the group and he said, 'All good, coach'. What else do you do?"

    Langer also paid tribute to a spell of fast bowling for the ages from Archer.

    "I've got massive admiration for Jofra. I think he's an unbelievable athlete and an incredibly skilful bowler," he said.

    "Test match cricket is hard work but his endurance was outstanding today – his skill, his pace. What an athlete and what a great player to have to promote Test cricket.

    "To bowl 29 overs today, time will tell if it has an impact. We hope it does, like we do with all the England bowlers, like they would with our bowlers."

    Australia will look to extend their 1-0 lead in the five-match series on Sunday but could have been in an even stronger position, having failed to review two lbw appeals against Rory Burns and the still-unbeaten Ben Stokes that would have gone in Nathan Lyon's favour.

    "It's frustrating, there's no doubt about that," Langer added. "It can change a session, it can change a Test match, it can change a series.

    "We're aware of it and we have to get better at it."

  • Ashes 2019: England feared for Smith after Archer blow - Woakes Ashes 2019: England feared for Smith after Archer blow - Woakes

    Chris Woakes conceded England's players were concerned for Steve Smith's welfare after Jofra Archer struck Australia's star batsman with a brutal bouncer at Lord's.

    Smith once again top scored for the tourists with 92 in 250 all out, a miserly first-innings deficit of eight that felt far less significant in the overall reckoning than England closing day four on 96 for four.

    But the 30-year-old left the field as a precaution having ducked into a bouncer during a rapid spell from Test debutant Archer that struck him on the neck and left him prone on the turf.

    It was a moment to evoke unwelcome memories of Phillip Hughes' tragic death in 2014 and, even though he was fielding in the deep, Woakes had no doubt over the severity of the incident.

    "I was down at fine leg but you get a feel as a player when someone gets hit, by the noise more than anything," the all-rounder told a post-match news conference.

    "You could hear it was more fleshy, around the neck. When that's the case you're immediately worried as a player.

    "Jos [Buttler] at short leg was in straight away to check he was okay, which was nice to see. You don't wish that on anyone.

    "For Steve to come back out after being hit the way he was shows courage and character. He's been incredible in this series."

    Woakes eventually claimed the prized wicket of Smith amid figures of 3-61, trapping him lbw without playing a stroke.

    "I suppose it is strange because he hasn’t left any on the stumps all series so far! He'd just come back out, he hoyed me over midwicket for a one-bounce four," he said when asked whether he felt Smith was out of sorts having returned to the field when the Warwickshire man had Peter Siddle caught behind.

    "I don't know if he was trying to get to three figures as quickly as possible, I'm not too sure. It's a tough one to answer.

    "He hasn't left one like that so far – I just thought it was a good piece of bowling!"

    The spell that will live long in the memory, however, is Archer's astonishing stint after lunch, where he hit a top speed of 96.1 mph and also cracked Smith painfully on the left forearm.

    "Not personally, on the field," Woakes replied when asked if he had ever witnessed a quicker piece of bowling.

    "You see quick bowling around the world but that was a prolonged spell of fast bowling.

    "I don't know what the average was he was up around [90 mph] every ball. The atmosphere in the crowd, you could tell that it was pretty special. The crowd were certainly behind every ball

    "It was special to be a part of. I haven't been on the field when someone's bowled that quick consistently."

  • Ashes 2019: Smith battered but unbowed to give Australia the edge Ashes 2019: Smith battered but unbowed to give Australia the edge

    Steve Smith braved a ferocious spell and a sickening blow from Jofra Archer to put Australia in a strong position heading into the final day of the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

    Smith was unable to make it three centuries from as many innings in the series but the circumstances of this knock mean it might arguably live longer in the memory.

    Once again anchoring the Australia innings and bringing up his half century after Matthew Wade edged the in-form Stuart Broad (4-65) to slip, Smith was subjected to a brutal going over from Test debutant Archer (2-59).

    He needed padding and a bandage after the paceman whacked him on the left forearm before Lord's held its breath when a bouncer speared into Smith's neck and left him prone on the turf.

    Australia's talisman left the field as a precaution but returned to fall for 92 in 250 all out, eight shy of England's first innings total.

    England toiled early in their second innings, with Jason Roy (2), Joe Root (0), Joe Denly (26) and Rory Burns (29) all falling, and they closed on 96-4 with a lead of 104.

    Burns pouching Wade for six in the morning session underlined the impression Smith was playing a different game to the rest of his colleagues in the Australian order, although his successor as captain Tim Paine (23) provided able support in a stand of 60 for the sixth wicket.

    Paine fell to a short-leg catch by Jos Buttler off Archer, setting the stage for day four's exhilarating and frightening centrepiece.

    Smith dropped the ball just short of Buttler from a delivery that clocked a remarkable 96.1 mph and he misjudged another vicious bouncer in Archer's next over to cause instant concern.

    The medical advice to leave the fray appeared to displease Smith but he was back after Peter Siddle edged Chris Woakes (3-61) behind - the England all-rounder trapping Australia's main man in front after three more defiant boundaries.

    Pat Cummins added a useful 20 and promptly got among England.

    Roy's ordeal at the top of the order continued as he shovelled back a return catch before Root feathered a beauty behind first ball.

    The hosts were reeling on 9-2 at that stage, leaving Burns and Denly to rebuild while riding their luck – both in terms of Australia's laxed review policy and David Warner's uncertain evening in the cordon.

    Siddle took matters into his own hands with a return catch to claim the deserved scalp of Denly before having Burns caught behind.

    Ben Stokes – afforded further lives by the errant Warner – and Jos Buttler did not always convince but were unbeaten on 16 and 10 respectively when rain brought a slightly early close.


    EVENING ERRORS PREVENT AUSSIES FROM DRIVING HOME THE ADVANTAGE

    Warner's toils with the bat at the hands of Broad so far in the series transferred to some shoddy work at slip as England tottered. Twice Paine failed to call for reviews that would have seen Nathan Lyon dismiss Burns and Stokes lbw. Both factors could prove costly in the final analysis of a rain-affected and low-scoring encounter.

    ARCHER PROVES HE BELONGS

    Where England's World Cup heroes have largely failed to fire with the bat since white ball switched to red, Archer left no doubt over his credentials with a spell for the ages. The rangy speedster taking on Smith truly was an "I was there" moment for all in attendance.

    MOMENT OF THE DAY

    After the thrill and concern of his joust with Jofra, there was a gladiatorial quality to Smith returning to the fray.

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