England’s top order was blown away as Australia tightened their grip on the crunch World Cup clash at Lord’s.
The hosts did well to restrict their opponents to 285 for seven, a score built around an anchoring knock of exactly 100 by Australia captain Aaron Finch, but were facing steep odds 20 overs into the chase.
At that stage the scoreboard read 91 for four, leaving Ben Stokes (35no) and Jos Buttler (14no) with a monumental task in front of them.
Opener James Vince was bowled second ball of the innings by a booming yorker from Jason Behrendorff and that was just the start of their problems.
Mitchell Starc took up the battle from the other end, bowling with pace and precision to send back Joe Root and skipper Eoin Morgan in successive overs.
Root was pinned lbw for eight, a fast, full delivery thumping him so cleanly in front of the stumps that he barely considered asking for a review despite his importance to the cause.
Morgan then suffered a dreadful lapse in judgement, taking on Starc’s short ball but erring in the execution as he fed Pat Cummins a simple catch at fine leg. At 26 for three England were threatening to combust.
Jonny Bairstow began the arduous task of resetting things but after making his way to 26 he replicated Morgan’s mistake, pulling a steepler from Behrendorff but only succeeding in picking out Cummins on the ropes.
England had earlier dragged Australia back from an imposing foundation of 173 for one in the 32nd over, rallying to keep the score below 300.
Steve Smith and David Warner were predictably booed to and from the crease but it was Finch who did the most damage, batting through 35 overs for his second ton of the tournament.