Australia proved they will be challenging for their sixth World Cup title this summer after beating England by 12 runs in their warm-up match in Southampton.

Former Australia captain Steve Smith said the hostile reception he received at the Ageas Bowl was like "water off a duck's back" after his century set up a 12-run Cricket World Cup warm-up victory over England.

The in-form Smith was booed when he walked to the crease, then when he reached his half-century and brought up a brilliant hundred on Saturday.

David Warner was also heckled by fans in their first match against England since returning from a one-year suspension for their part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

Smith, who made 116 from 102 balls a week before Australia start their World Cup defence against Afghanistan, was unfazed by the abuse he received.

"I heard a few things as I went out to bat, but it didn't really get to me. I'm kind of just trying to keep my head down and move straight ahead and just do my job," Smith said.

"Fortunately, I was able to score a few runs for the team and, more importantly, spend some time in the middle before our first game of the World Cup."

Smith added: "It doesn't bother me, it's just doing my job and I know that I've got the support of my team-mates up on the balcony and that's the most important thing. If I can make them proud out in the middle and make Australians proud as much as I can, well, that's my job.

"I just blank it out. They call it white noise. When I am out there I pay no attention to the crowd and just move on with playing the game."

Smith said he had not been on the receiving end of hostility from the public in England prior to the match at the home of Hampshire.

"No, it's been really good I haven't copped any which is really nice. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion and how they want to treat people, but it is water off a duck's back," he said. 

"I'll just do my own thing and just keep working hard to play hard."

England were all out for 285 in the final over in reply to 297-9, with concerns over a foot injury suffered by Mark Wood. Jofra Archer also suffered an injury scare but was able to bat.

England suffered another injury scare ahead of the Cricket World Cup as Mark Wood abruptly left the field during the warm-up fixture with Australia.

Just 24 hours after Eoin Morgan suffered a small flake fracture to his left index finger in training, the tournament hosts saw Wood head to the dressing room after cutting short his fourth over.

The Durham paceman had taken the early wicket of Australia skipper Aaron Finch but suddenly pulled up as he ran in to bowl to David Warner.

Wood winced in pain before taking his cap and heading off, leaving Ben Stokes to complete the remaining five deliveries of the over.

England were already without captain Morgan for the match after he hurt his finger during a fielding drill at the Rose Bowl on Friday.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed in a statement that they expect the left-handed batsman to be fit for the World Cup opener against South Africa, which takes place at The Oval on Thursday.

Jofra Archer briefly came on as a substitute before he too departed the action, leaving England to thrust assistant coach Paul Collingwood into fielding duties.

Eoin Morgan is expected to be fit for England's Cricket World Cup opener against South Africa despite suffering a fractured finger.

England's limited-overs skipper hurt his left index finger during catching practice at the Rose Bowl ahead of the warm-up fixture against Australia.

After being sent for a precautionary x-ray, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed the left-handed batsman has been diagnosed with a small flake fracture.

While the injury means he will sit out Saturday's game, the 32-year-old should be available again for the start of the tournament on home soil.

A short ECB statement confirmed Morgan is expected to make a "full recovery" in time for the clash with the Proteas at The Oval on Thursday.

England were hit by an injury scare ahead of the Cricket World Cup with captain Eoin Morgan suffering a finger injury in training on Friday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed Morgan, who is set to lead England in the upcoming tournament on home soil, was sent for an x-ray after taking a blow to the hand.

The 32-year-old batsman hurt the index finger on his left hand during fielding drills at the Rose Bowl ahead of Saturday's warm-up fixture against Australia.

"Eoin Morgan has took a knock to his left index finger fielding this morning. He is going to hospital after practice for a precautionary x-ray," an ECB statement read.

England start their World Cup campaign at The Oval against South Africa on Thursday.

India captain Virat Kohli backed Jofra Archer to be England's "X-factor" at the Cricket World Cup.

Despite playing just three one-day internationals, Archer was included in England's 15-man squad for a tournament they are set to enter as favourites.

The 24-year-old said Kohli was a wicket he wanted to take, while also eyeing West Indies star Chris Gayle.

Asked about Archer's comments, Kohli said on Thursday: "Did he say that?

"I had no idea. OK, so that's news to me, news to Morgs [England captain Eoin Morgan] as well."

Kohli went on to sing the praises of Archer, who took three wickets at an average of 36 in his first three ODIs.

"If Jofra's said that, it's a big compliment because he himself is a world-class bowler," he said.

"The way he's come about in the IPL [Indian Premier League] over the past couple of years I've seen him, and playing all around the world, there's good reason why he's been fast-tracked into playing for England in a tournament like the World Cup.

"I think he's probably going to be their X-factor because he holds a skill set which is very different from anyone else. He can generate a lot of pace which can be intimidating and you don't expect that because of his run-up.

"The way he's built, he's a great athlete and I'm sure the England team is delighted to have him as well, but he's going to be pretty exciting to watch in the World Cup.

"I personally will be watching his bowling as well because whatever I've seen of him he's been very, very impressive."

India begin their tournament by facing South Africa on June 5, six days after England open the event against the same opponents.

UEFA has dismissed an appeal from the Football Association of Montenegro over a one-game ban handed out for racist behaviour by their supporters in the Euro 2020 qualifier against England.

Montenegro were ordered to play their next competitive home fixture behind closed doors, as well as display a banner with the wording '#EqualGame' following incidents during the fixture on March 25.

England players Callum Hudson-Odoi, Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling were subjected to racist chanting during their side's 5-1 victory in Podgorica.

While Montenegro challenged the outcome of an Ethics and Disciplinary Body hearing on April 26, UEFA upheld the initial punishments, including a €20,000 fine for setting off fireworks, throwing of objects, crowd disturbances and the blocking of stairways.

Meanwhile, UEFA announced Bosnia-Herzegovina's appeal against a two-game suspension for Miralem Pjanic was partially upheld.

The Juventus midfielder was shown a straight red card for a challenge in the second half of the 2-2 Group J draw with Greece on March 26.

However, Pjanic's ban has been halved, meaning he will only miss the trip to Finland on June 8 before returning for the clash with Italy three days later.

 

Alex Hales has not given up hope of representing England again and wants to feature at next year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

The 30-year-old was axed from his country's preliminary Cricket World Cup squad last month due to a suspension imposed for what his spokesperson described as an "off-field incident".

A day after England's 15-man squad for the tournament was confirmed, Hales was selected with the first pick in the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft by the Barbados Tridents.

Director of England Cricket Ashley Giles stressed the door was not closed for Hales to return to the international set-up and the opening batsman hopes he can use the CPL, and other limited-overs tournaments, to stake his claim for the T20 World Cup in 2020.

"I hope so, I think it's a good opportunity," he told reporters at the CPL draft.

"These tournaments now are well respected all around the world, particularly by the selectors at the ECB.

"I'd love to use these tournaments to hopefully get back into the frame for next year.

"I hope [the door] is not [closed]. One of my aims is that T20 World Cup.

"I'm going to go through the process and hopefully score some runs in these tournaments and see how we go."

England, the ICC's number-one ranked one-day international team, are favourites to win the 50-over World Cup on home soil and, despite his omission from the squad, Hales is rooting for his compatriots.

"I'm still a fan and I wish the boys all the best," he added.

"What we've done over the last few years has been unbelievable and the guys deserve to win it and I'll be sat there and cheering."

Ben Stokes says England may be the top-ranked ODI team in the world but there is no margin for error if they want to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the Cricket World Cup.

Host nation England are the ICC's number one team as they approach the upcoming tournament, looking to claim the trophy for the very first time.

But Stokes warned that unlike in longer series' where defeats can be rectified, England cannot afford any slip ups.

"All the nations come together over a certain period and whichever team performs best over that time gets to lift the trophy," he told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Red Bull. "You want to be that team.

"It's not a series, where you can win 3-2. You have to make sure that you're the best team on every day and I think it shows which teams are the best.

"You look at Australia, when they won three in a row [in 1999, 2003 and 2007], they were an unbelievable team. They always won the World Cups because they were the best team.

"I think that's the best thing about it - it puts a big split between the top teams and the lower teams."

After the World Cup, England's Test team will host Australia in the Ashes before head coach Trevor Bayliss departs when his contract expires in September.

And Stokes paid tribute to Bayliss for his work in improving the approach of England's ODI cricket.

"I think he's been brilliant for the one-day team," Stokes said. "He's come in and changed our ethos and thinking towards it.

"He's given us a lot of confidence and he just lets us drive the team forward really with how we want to play.

"Eoin Morgan has also done a great job with that, as our leader and captain, but [Bayliss] has been very, very influential over the last four years."

England begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa at The Oval on May 30.

Joe Root hailed Jofra Archer's "X-factor" after the all-rounder was included in England's squad for the Cricket World Cup.

Archer, who only became eligible for selection in March, was named in the final 15-man squad on Tuesday despite having only played three ODIs for England.

His selection over an established member of the side in David Willey was seen by some as controversial.

However, Root believes Archer has proven his worth with numerous instrumental performances in the Indian Premier League.

"He's obviously got that X-factor," Root told Sky Sports News. "You watch him play in the IPL, you watch the effect he's had on some of those games, high-pressure games and he's performed in that environment and thrived in it.

"He's only played a couple of games for us in international cricket and he's right at the start of his career but he has the ability to change games, he brings something different to our attack, which I think is a real bonus. It's a great, strong addition to the squad."

Asked if Archer could work his way into the Test squad for the Ashes series with Australia later this year, Root added: "He obviously would offer something different to the group of players we've got currently.

"I think it's very important throughout this next period, the selectors in particular watching county cricket, watching how guys go throughout the World Cup, guys within this World Cup squad - not just Jofra but other players as well - have got an opportunity to impress and make sure that they're up for contention when those Ashes squads are selected."

Root is Willey's team-mate at Yorkshire as well as with England and feels the fact a player of his quality has missed out is proof of the depth they have at their disposal.

"It was always going to be bitterly disappointing for whoever missed out," Root said. 

"Everyone's performed extremely well, done everything they can to give a good account of themselves going into the World Cup. For Dave, he's worked extremely hard, he'll be absolutely gutted.

"He's a brilliant team-mate, a great professional. He'll go back to Yorkshire and try to prove to everyone why he's going to play for England for a long time to come in the future.

"It's a very unique situation where you've got so many guys that have performed brilliantly, you look at the squad going into the tournament and there's no question-marks, everyone deserves their place, has performed consistently well going into it, it's a brilliant place to be.

"It is bitterly disappointing and it was always going to be tough on someone but it shows the strength in depth in the group, where we're at as a one-day team at the minute and it shows how well we've prepared.

"We've given ourselves the best chance leading into it, we're still going to have to play extremely well, nothing's going to be given to us, we're going to have to earn every win throughout the whole tournament."

Jofra Archer and Liam Dawson have been included in the England squad for the Cricket World Cup.

Dawson was not in England's preliminary 15-man group but makes the final line-up announced on Tuesday.

Archer was also omitted from the initial squad but the Barbados-born paceman has been named after making a positive impression during England's 4-0 one-day international series defeat of Pakistan.

Joe Denly and David Willey drop out while James Vince replaces opener Alex Hales, who has not been selected due to an "off-field incident".

Dawson's inclusion comes after Denly failed to stake his claim against Pakistan, with the Hampshire off-spinner back in the international fold for the first time since he suffered a side strain during last year's tour of Sri Lanka

The 29-year-old has starred in Hampshire's run to the Royal London One-Day Cup final this year and his county colleague Vince, capped 10 times at one-day international level, adds depth to the batting ranks.

Archer's rapid rise sees the all-rounder included despite only making his international debut this month, with Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran and Ben Stokes the other pace options in the squad.

England are among the pre-tournament favourites due to a batting line-up packed with power, with Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow tipped to be among the stars of the World Cup.

Adil Rashid is included despite selector Ed Smith confirming the Yorkshire leg-spinner is carrying a minor shoulder injury.

 

England's World Cup squad in full:

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

James Anderson was happy to come through a "good test" for his bruised knee after starring for Lancashire against Worcestershire.

Anderson is not involved in England's World Cup squad but is expected to lead the attack in the Ashes series against Australia later in the year.

However, the seamer gave cause for concern after he was forced off during Lancashire's Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final loss against Hampshire on May 12 when a shot from James Fuller hit him in the knee.

Anderson showed no signs of any lasting damage on Monday, though, taking a five-wicket haul at the start of the County Championship fixture.

Lancashire limited the visitors to just 172 on the opening day of the Division Two clash at Old Trafford, and the 36-year-old was delighted to come through unscathed after starting out with a 12-over spell.

"It was a good test for the bruised knee," Anderson told Lancashire's official website.

"I enjoyed that first partnership with Graham [Onions] (3-52) at the other end. I thought we asked a lot of questions and got the rewards towards the end of the spell.

"But I probably wouldn't want a 12-over spell every time I open the bowling! Today was one of those days where you get into a rhythm and get on a roll and it was right I kept going."

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur is convinced his side can shine at the Cricket World Cup, even though they will head into the tournament on the back of 10 successive ODI losses.

A 54-run defeat at Headingley on Sunday condemned Pakistan to a 4-0 series reverse at the hands of England, the World Cup hosts.

However, Arthur was determined to remain upbeat after seeing his side post scores of 361-7, 358-9, 340-7 and 297, only to be out-gunned by a prolific home batting line-up.

"We sit here having taken a huge amount of positives out of this series," said Arthur. "I thought we batted extremely well. Our bowling has been average at best and our fielding has been average at best but we've batted fairly well.

"The other thing is we've played against a team who are number one in the world in their own conditions. I know there's not too many teams who will arrive in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we've played against and match fitness.

"We've got a couple of days now to regroup, two warm-up games and then we'll go. I'm very, very confident with the players we've got. We need to sharpen up on a couple of disciplines but we'll certainly get there. We'll be good."

Asked to outline his expectations for the World Cup, Arthur added: "All I know is that the players are very, very determined to do well. Every time they go out there they play for 210 million people.

"We all take defeat in a disappointing way, as our supporter base do. The players are good. Come the first game against the West Indies [on May 31], we'll be ready. I'm as confident that we'll do well as I've ever been."

Arthur, who confirmed paceman Mohammad Amir is available for World Cup selection after missing the England series through illness, acknowledged Pakistan have to improve significantly in the field.

"It's been very disappointing. I think that's been the massive difference between the two sides," he added.

"That's a real worry for me because we are putting a hell of a lot of effort into it and there's not a massive amount of reward for us there at the moment. We'll just keep knocking away at it though, just to make sure we get it up to speed.

"Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys' attitude has been outstanding through this series and for the years before. They know where they are short, they know they've been short in this department and they are not happy about it. They are working damn hard at it."

Chris Woakes acknowledged a nervy Monday lies ahead for England's Cricket World Cup hopefuls as they await confirmation of who has made the final squad for the tournament on home soil.

Woakes appears a certainty to be selected given his consistently impressive performances in one-day internationals, the latest of which saw him return 5-54 at Headingley to help Eoin Morgan's men to a 54-run victory over Pakistan and a 4-0 series triumph.

Yet competition for places, particularly in England's bowling ranks, is fierce and the likes of David Willey, Tom Curran and Joe Denly seem to be among those most at risk of losing out with Jofra Archer anticipated to be picked.

The squad will be announced on Tuesday, with each player likely to discover their fate the day before it is made public.

"Everyone will be looking at their phones tomorrow [Monday], I suppose, if that's when we find out," said Woakes in a news conference following his man-of-the-match display in Leeds. "Everyone will be wary of that phone call.

"Even if you feel like you've got a good chance to be in the squad, until you hear it from the selectors' mouths, it's not quite set in stone.

"As a player you're still probably a little bit on edge, in particular with this 16 and 17 players because everyone has performed at some point over the series [against Pakistan]. 

"In the last couple of years people have put in strong performances. It's a tricky decision for selectors and I'm glad I'm not having to make that decision. It has to be done, I suppose."

Woakes, who acknowledged the timing of his impressive display on Sunday was "pretty nice", believes England's strength in depth has raised performance levels.

"It's certainly driven everyone forward to try and improve, to make sure they're on top of their game, to make sure they tick everything off in practice," he added.

"Whenever you get the opportunity to bowl in practice, or bat or field, you constantly feel ... not like you're on audition, but like it's an opportunity to show your skills.

"It's certainly driven everyone to try and improve and it's certainly showed in our performances over the series."

Former Windies skipper Darren Sammy believes the regional team will be crowned ICC World Cup champions but has a particularly interesting reason for coming to that conclusion.

The 12th edition of the tournament will mark 40 years since the West Indies won the tournament in 1979.  However, far from those days and despite a strong showing against the world number one-ranked team England recently, the Caribbean unit, who struggled to make the tournament in the first place, will not be most experts pick to win it all.

Sammy, the former T20 World Cup champion believes different forces could be at play.  Despite the fact that team will be one of the lowest ranked heading into the tournament, Sammy believes the number 40 could hold a charm for the team, based on its religious and symbolic significance.

 The tournament will also be the last for the arguably the region’s biggest star, Chris Gayle, who is expected to retire following the tournament and the motivation could be high to give him a proper send off.

“West Indies will win the World Cup. With Chris Gayle retiring, the ‘Universe Boss’ will want to leave with a bang. I just have a strong feeling. It’s been 40 years since we last won the World Cup. I’m a biblical man and the number 40 comes up a lot in the bible… I think it’s our time to rise up,” Sammy was quoted as saying by metro.co.uk.

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