England won the toss and opted to bowl first in the game. They got off to a reasonable start with the ball as Chris Woakes (4/54) dismissed both Australian openers cheaply. Travis Head (11) was caught at slip as he poked at one outside off stump, while David Warner (15) top-edged a pull.
Steve Smith (44 off 52) and Labuschagne lifted Australia with a third-wicket stand of 75 runs. The crucial stand ended when Smith top-edged a drive off Adil Rashid (2/38). The England leg-spinner also dismissed Josh Inglis (3), who chipped a simple catch while attempting a premeditated reverse sweep.
Labuschagne and Cameron Green (47 off 52), however, added an important 61 runs for the fifth wicket, a stand which ended when Labuschagne was trapped lbw by Mark Wood (2/70). Green was cleaned up by David Willey as he shuffled across his crease. However, fine cameos from Marcus Stoinis (35 off 32) and Adam Zampa (29 off 19) took Australia to a competitive 286.
In the chase, England lost Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck as he was strangled down leg by Mitchell Starc. A smart review from Australia sent Joe Root (13) on his way as he nicked one from Starc outside off. Dawid Malan (50 off 64) and Ben Stokes (64 off 90) gave England hope, adding 84 runs for the third wicket.
Malan, however, holed out in his attempt to take on Australian captain Pat Cummins (2/49). Skipper Jos Buttler’s (1) horror run continued as he chipped a catch to long-off to give Zampa a big wicket. The Aussie leggie also ended Stokes’ stay at the crease as the left-hander guided a delivery straight to short fine leg. Liam Livingstone (2) then fell to a brilliant diving catch by Sean Abbott at mid-wicket.
Moeen Ali (42) and Woakes (32) delayed the inevitable, but it was only a matter of time before England officially crashed out from the World Cup. The winning moment came when Rashid (20) top-edged a catch off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling. England were all out for 253 in 48.1 overs.
--By A Cricket Correspondent