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04-Nov-2023 16:59:00 GMT
Australia vs England - 36th Match, Ahmedabad

England World Cup defence ended by Australia

Australia 286 (Labuschagne 71, Woakes 4-54, Rashid 2-38) beat England 253 (Stokes 64, Malan 50, Zampa 3-21) won by 33 runs

Ahmedabad: England's World Cup defence is over after old rivals Australia added the final nail with a 33-run victory in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

England were already all-but out but a fifth miserable defeat in succession and sixth in total ends any hope of a freak turnaround.

They did well to bowl out Australia for 286 and showed some fight with the bat but were still dismissed for 253.

Jonny Bairstow was caught down the leg side off the first ball of the chase and Joe Root followed for 13, leaving Ben Stokes to play a lone hand as he threatened another special knock.

But, just as he began to move through the gears, Australia's greatest tormentor in recent years was tamely caught off leg-spinner Adam Zampa for 64 from 90 balls.

Chris Woakes threatened the unlikely late on but his 32 only delayed the inevitable as England were dismissed in the penultimate over.

Defeat leaves England ninth in the table with two matches still to play - first against the Netherlands on Wednesday before their tournament concludes against Pakistan on Saturday.

Their attention now turns to attempting to avoid the embarrassment of failing to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy by finishing outside of the top eight in India.

Meanwhile Australia are on the brink of securing their semi-final place and move on buoyed having ended the reign of their Ashes foes.

England's defence officially ending with defeat by Australia only adds further misery to a torrid four weeks.

It also ends where it began - at the world's largest cricket stadium where English optimism was shattered by a thrashing from New Zealand in the tournament opener.

The bowling performance gave them hope - Woakes impressed with 4-54 - but from the moment of Bairstow's tame dismissal, Australia were favourites.

Root was dropped on seven and nicked wide of slip before a thin edge through to the wicketkeeper was shown on review, leaving Stokes to rebuild with Dawid Malan.

From 19-2 they put on a careful stand of 84 from 108 balls until Malan hoisted a catch to deep square leg on 50. Captain Jos Buttler's miserable run continued as he holed out off Zampa having struggled for seven balls for one run.

While Stokes was there, memories of his Headingley Ashes epic were not far away, with the required rate never too challenging.

He struck two sixes in bringing up his half-century, only to flick a Zampa long-hop straight into the hands of short fine leg.

Zampa finished with superb figures of 3-21, took a fine sprawling catch in the deep to dismiss David Willey and added an important 29 at number 10 with the bat.

England may have fought back to draw the Ashes this summer but it is Australia who strike the final blow of 2023.

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