...without breaking a sweat

Despite losing the toss, it turned out to be a perfect day for England as it managed to get the better of Australia in every department.

Chris Woakes is ecstatic after dismissing Peter Handscomb cheaply. Australia couldn’t recover from those early blows and was bundled out for 223.   -  Getty Images

Three sixes in three balls! The first went over long-on; the second straight down the ground, and the third almost flew out of the stands…

Steve Smith looked hapless as Jason Roy went hammer and tongs at him at Edgbaston, leading the way for England’s eight-wicket victory over Australia and storming into the final of the World Cup — for the first time since 1992.

With Roy keeping his cool — coming up with a knock of 85 in 65 balls — the host chased down a target of 224 in 32.1 overs in the second semifinal against the defending champion. The England opener smashed five sixes and nine boundaries.

Despite losing the toss, it turned out to be a perfect day for England as it managed to get the better of Australia in every department. Batting first, Australia was reeling at 14-3 after 6.1 overs, with captain Aaron Finch returning for a duck, David Warner — the team’s top-scorer in the tournament with 647 runs — caught behind for nine. Peter Handscomb, too, departed for four.

Smith, however, played a solid knock of 88 and Alex Carey chipped in with 46 after being struck on the helmet by a rising delivery from Jofra Archer when he was on four. He carried on with his head bandaged and blood spilling from his chin. But with Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid scalping three wickets each and Jofra Archer chipping in a couple, Australia could not fly high.

But in big-ticket fixtures like these, low-scoring totals could often be tricky and with New Zealand successfully managing to defend 239-8 against India in the first semifinal, there were apprehensions about England’s approach.

But Roy and Jonny Bairstow put on a 124-run opening partnership, making things easy for England. Even though Roy was given out caught behind down the leg-side off Pat Cummins, the replays showed he didn’t nick it.

However, there was no looking back for England as captain Eoin Morgan (45) and Joe Root (49) remained unbeaten to guide the team to victory amid cheers of “It’s coming home…”

Brief scores: Australia 223 in 49 overs (Steven Smith 85, Alex Carey 46; Chris Woakes 3-20, Adil Rashid 3-54, Jofra Archer 2-32) lost to England 226 for two in 32.1 overs (Jason Roy 85, Joe Root not out 49, Eoin Morgan 45 not out). Player of the match: Chris Woakes.