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Australia complete easy win
March 10, 2007 17:41 IST
Four wickets from Shaun Tait and a superb 72 from Adam Gilchrist helped Australia snap their losing run against England with an easy five-wicket win in their final World Cup warm-up in St Vincent on Friday.
The victory will not officially count as it was a 13-player game, but their confidence will have been greatly boosted after they lost three times on the bounce to England in the recent home tri-series, including a 2-0 defeat in the finals.
The world champions were struggling early on though when England captain Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell shared a second-wicket stand of 116 before England collapsed from 122 for one to 197 all out after some rash shots and improved bowling.
Bell made an elegant 56 before coming down the pitch to Brad Hogg and being stumped by Gilchrist, who was making his first appearance of the trip after arriving late following the birth of his child.
Vaughan, regaining his fitness after knee and hamstring problems, showed no signs of injury in his 62 from 73 balls and looked in form until he sent a loose cut straight to Shane Watson off left-arm wrist spinner Hogg, who took two for 28.
England, who won the toss, failed to capitalise with Paul Collingwood and Andrew Flintoff giving away their wickets with lofted shots. The tail quickly fell away and paceman Tait steamed in to finish with four for 33 while Stuart Clark also picked up three for 16.
Australian openers Watson (55) and Gilchrist started the chase impeccably with both managing some lusty blows off a totally ineffective England attack on a slow wicket.
Gilchrist hammered six fours and a six before edging Sajid Mahmood behind down leg. The middle-order fell cheaply but Australia, still without Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds, won with 9.1 overs to spare.
Vaughan, who fielded for 17 overs, was hoping to use the warm-ups to decide which two of Jon Lewis, James Anderson, Liam Plunkett and Mahmood would take the World Cup seam bowling slots. But the captain will have gleaned little, especially as Bermuda were dismissed for 45 on Monday.
England face New Zealand in their Group C opener on March 16 in St. Lucia and then play Canada and Kenya.
Australia, who were beaten 3-0 in New Zealand last month and lost their number one ranking to South Africa, are in Group A with Graeme Smith's team, the Netherlands and Scotland.
The Cup: The Complete Coverage
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