England seal semi-final spot after another Bairstow century

By Sports Desk July 03, 2019

Jonny Bairstow made another magnificent century under pressure to set up a 119-run thrashing of New Zealand at The Riverside which sealed a Cricket World Cup semi-final spot for England.

Bairstow hit back at England's critics in emphatic fashion with a hundred in a crucial win over India on Sunday and the opener reached three figures again as England posted 305-8 after Eoin Morgan won the toss in Durham on Wednesday.

Destructive openers Bairstow (106 off 99 balls) and Jason Roy (60 off 61) put on 123 for the first wicket and the hosts looked to be on course for at least 350 before the Black Caps fought back.

Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Jimmy Neesham took two wickets apiece on a pitch that slowed up during the England innings.

New Zealand, missing paceman Lockie Ferguson due to a hamstring injury, were bowled out for 186 in reply, slumping to a third consecutive defeat after Kane Williamson was run out backing up at the non-striker's end by Mark Wood - who took 3-34 on his home ground.

England, in great danger of missing out on the last four following back-to-back defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia, will finish third and face either Australia or India at Edgbaston next Thursday in the semi-finals.

Tom Latham top scored with 57 for a Black Caps side that are all-but assured of a place in the last four, with Pakistan almost certainly on their way out on net run-rate even if they beat Bangladesh at Lord's on Friday.

 

BAIRSTOW AND ROY FIRE AGAIN

Bairstow and Roy made another blistering start, a rusty Tim Southee being sprayed around in his first match of the tournament before Roy drove the disciplined Neesham (2-41) to Mitchell Santner in the covers.

The aggressive Bairstow remained on the front foot, smashing Southee for a straight six and dispatching the paceman for two boundaries in his next over to reach three figures off 95 balls.

England lost their way after Boult (2-56) snared Joe Root (24) and Bairstow chopped on to a Henry delivery, gifting wickets away with poor aerial shots, Morgan (42) the only other batsman to make a notable contribution.

 

WOOD TIPS THE BALANCE IN ENGLAND'S FAVOUR

Henry Nicholls was trapped leg before first ball by Chris Woakes and opted against a review, which would have saved him, before Jos Buttler took a great catch down the leg side to remove Martin Guptill off Jofra Archer.

Williamson (27) and Ross Taylor were rebuilding nicely until Wood got a fingertip on a drive from the former skipper and the current captain was short of his ground.

Taylor was run out in the next over and New Zealand were teetering on 128-6 after Neesham chopped on to Wood, then Ben Stokes struck with his first ball to dismiss Colin de Grandhomme.

 

LATHAM DELAYS THE INEVITABLE

New Zealand never looked like chasing down their target, but Latham spent welcome time at the crease.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, poor with the bat in the World Cup so far, struck five boundaries before he was caught behind off Liam Plunkett.

Wood got rid of Santner and bowled Henry before Adil Rashid had Boult stumped to seal an emphatic win and see England through.

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  • You expect that from Steve! - Starc lauds Smith after 'special' catch You expect that from Steve! - Starc lauds Smith after 'special' catch

    Steve Smith produced a stunning one-handed catch to remove Kane Williamson on the second day of Australia's first Test against New Zealand, though Mitchell Starc always expected his brilliant team-mate to take the chance.

    Starc finished with 4-31 from 11 overs at stumps as the Black Caps were reduced to 109-5 in reply to Australia's first-innings total of 416.

    While Ross Taylor will resume on 66 not out on Saturday, Australia have already got the key wicket of Williamson, who fell for 34 when Starc and Smith combined in spectacular fashion.

    Former Australia captain Smith flung out his right hand to take a remarkable diving grab at second slip, not that the bowler of the delivery shared the crowd's amazement.

    "Unfortunately for him, you sort of expect that from Steve," Starc explained to reporters.

    "He's done that a few times. It was fantastic to create that buzz in the crowd and certainly out on the ground for us.

    "The big wicket of Kane - being the captain as well - to hang onto him was a big moment in tonight's session.

    "It was a fantastic catch, and it's always nice to see the boys hang on."

    Starc added: "It happens pretty quick. It was a special grab.

    "He's such a good player, whether it be with bat or in the field, you almost, unfortunately for him, expect that he's going to hold onto those nine times out of 10."

    It was not all plain sailing for the hosts, who lost Josh Hazlewood to a suspected hamstring injury after he had bowled just eight balls - one of which clattered into opener Jeet Raval's stumps.

    The extent of Hazlewood's problem is due to be confirmed on Saturday, with Starc already facing up to the possibility of Australia being one bowler down for at least the remainder of this Test.

    "It's never nice seeing anyone go down, especially one of your best mates," Starc added.

    "I'm not sure how those scans have come back, hopefully there's some positivity out of that. I guess it makes it tough now with a bowler down. It was for the Kiwis with [Lockie] Ferguson going down.

    "The plus side is we've got them five down tonight and hopefully for Josh it's not too bad and, if it is going to keep him out for the rest of the week, it's not too big a break to get that hammy right."

    Starc shone with the pink ball in the day-night Test, though admitted he still prefers all-day matches.

    Asked whether he wanted all Tests to be day-night encounters given his performance, Starc replied: "Nope. Don't overdo it, I'd say.

    "It's great for cricket but I'm still a traditionalist at heart. Don't take too many away from the red-ball game."

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