Steve Smith is untouchable

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 26 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Cricket World Cup: Australia had an early chance to dismiss Rohit Sharma, and although Shane Watson got a hand to it, the umpires ruled somewhat controversially that it did not carry.

Michael Clarke will lead Australia in a World Cup semi-final for the first time. Source: AFP

AUSTRALIA charged into the World Cup final with a dominant 95-run victory against India on Thursday as that man Steve Smith once again stole the show.

The breakout star of the Australian summer scored a brilliant century off just 89 deliveries to help set up Australia's mammoth score of 328 and then provided two sensational moments in the field.

The home side had the game well in control after Mitch Johnson and Josh Hazlewood ripped through the Indian top order but needed to break a 70-run fifth wicket partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni to be certain of victory.

It was Smith who provided the inspiration, imploring his teammates to refer a caught behind decision against Rahane off Mitchell Starc's bowling which noone else looked particular interested in.

But one of the greatest referrals in DRS history showed Rahane had sent the faintest of edges through to Haddin and he was sent on his way.

Still unsatisfied, Smith capped his night by producing a direct hit run out from backward point to remove Ravi Jadeja late in the Indian innings.

But it was by no means a one man show as Aaron Finch (81) and Mitchell Johnson (27 from nine balls) made important contributions with the bat.

After a worrying start, the bowling unit then did the job with the ball as Starc, James Faulkner, Johnson and Hazlewood shared the wickets.

Smith's run out was upstaged in the final overs when Glenn Maxwell pulled out a direct hit of his own to run out MS Dhoni.

Maxwell only had one stump to aim at but sent a perfect throw to the bowler's end to kill off India's chance of victory.

Australia will now face New Zealand in the final at the MCG on Sunday.

9.30pm — A TIMELY REFERRAL

Just listen to Steve Smith, Hads. Source: AFP

THE faintest of edges has cost Ajinkya Rahane his wicket in a bizarre dismissal.

Most of the Australian fielders barely reacted when Mitchell Starc sent a delivery passed Rahane through to Brad Haddin, but Steve Smith heard something and talked the wicketkeeper into referring the decision to the third umpire.

Snicko showed a tiny bit of movement when the ball passed Rahane's bat and he became Starc's first victim of the game.

India is 5/179, requiring 150 runs from the final 13 overs.

9.10pm — INDIA YET TO ACCELERATE

Glenn Maxwell bowled five tidy overs. Source: AFP

THE fifth wicket partnership betwen Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni has passed 50 but the run rate required for an Indian victory is now north of 10 runs an over.

Rahane has scored just one boundary in his innings of 37 from 59 deliveries. Dhoni has scored 26 from 29 but India still needs 168 runs to win from the last 100 balls.

8.30pm — FAULKNER ENDS RAINA'S NIGHT

James Faulkner finally has something to smile about. Source: News Corp Australia

AFTER leaking 35 runs from the first 17 deliveries he bowled, James Faulkner finally made a positive impact with the ball by removing Suresh Raina.

Faulkner responded to a poor start by getting a ball to bounce on Raina and take an edge through to Brad Haddin. India is 4/110 after 24 overs.

8.10pm — AIN'T THAT A MITCH

MITCHELL Johnson has turned this game firmly in Australia's favour by adding the scalp of Rohit Sharma.

Sharma — who was playing the anchor role for India — clubbed Johnson for six on the leg side to take his score to 34.

But the very next ball he received a corker from the Aussie quick and clipped an inside edge back onto his stumps.

India is 3/91 from 18 overs.

7.55pm — CATCHYA LATER KOHLI

Mitchell Johnson: Delivering with bat and ball. Source: AFP

AUSTRALIA has quickly regained control of this game after Mitchell Johnson took the key wicket of Virat Kohli for just one run.

The Indian star couldn't resist having a crack at a Johnson bouncer but hit it high into the air where it was gratefully accepted by Brad Haddin.

India is 2/78 and has lost 2/2 in the past 17 deliveries.

7.45pm — HAZLEWOOD FINDS THE BREAKTHROUGH

After a collision with Shikhar Dhawan earlier in the innings, Josh Hazlewood got his man. Source: News Corp Australia

MICHAEL Clarke threw Josh Hazlewood the ball and the young Aussie quick delivered, taking the crucial wicket of Shikhar Dhawan for 45.

The Indian opener was flaying the Aussie bowlers but was caught by Glenn Maxwell attempting to play a big shot over cover after Hazlewood was reintroduced into the attack.

The wicket should help Australia stem the bleeding but India is still in a strong position at 1/76 from 13 overs.

7.30pm — DANGER SIGNS FOR AUSTRALIA

Is the sun setting on Australia's World Cup hopes? Source: News Corp Australia

INDIA has made the perfect start to its run chase, moving to 0/55 from the first 10 overs.

An unusual decision to introduce James Faulkner into the attack early didn't pay off as he was clubbed for three boundaries by Shikhar Dhawan (32 from 31 balls).

Australia needs wickets to stem the flow of runs but the pitch isn't offering any help.

7pm — INDIAN OPENERS GETTING LUCKY

Mitchell Starc has been finding the edge. Source: Getty Images

ROHIT Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have both survived chances in the first five overs of India's run chase.

Sharma edged a Mitchell Starc delivery to Shane Watson at slip but it was given not out on review because the ball appeared to hit the ground as Watson caught it.

Dhawan's life came off Josh Hazlewood as Brad Haddin grassed a diving attempt.

India is 0/20 from five overs.

6.15pm — IS 328 ENOUGH ON THIS PITCH?

The Aussie batsmen left Mitchell Starc and the bowling unit with work to do. Source: News Corp Australia

INDIA fought back well but still faces an imposing run chase of 329 for victory in today's World Cup semi-final against Australia.

The home side looked capable of a score in the 350-400 range after Steve Smith (105 from 93 balls) and Aaron Finch (81 from 116 balls) set a great platform with a 182-run second wicket partnership.

But from 2/232 in the 37th over Australia was restricted to just 96 more runs as a steady fall of wickets continually killed momentum.

Glenn Maxwell (23 from 14), Shane Watson (28 from 30) and James Faulkner (21 from 12) all played cameos but crucially fell before their innings really took off.

It was left to Mitchell Johnson (27 not out from nine balls) to add the finishing touches and ensure Australia still posted an impressive total.

6pm — FAULKNER AND WATSON ON THEIR WAY

Umesh Yadav has been expensive but he has four wickets. Source: Getty Images

JAMES Faulkner and Shane Watson added some valuable late innings runs before becoming the sixth and seventh Australian wickets to fall.

Faulkner was clean bowled by Umesh Yadav to cut short a promising innings. The all-rounder blasted 21 runs from 12 deliveries before becoming the Indian paceman's fourth wicket.

Watson opened his shoulders late to reach 28 from 30 balls before also holing out.

5.30pm — AUSSIES STUMBLING HOME

Late innings hitting isn't Michael Clarke's game. Source: News Corp Australia

FROM 400, to 350, to 320 and now probably 300.

Australia has had to quickly readjust it's 50 over target after a steady flow of wickets since Steve Smith left the crease.

Michael Clarke (10 from 12 balls) was just caught at midwicket trying to hit over the top to leave the score at 5/248 from 42 overs.

5.10pm — MINI COLLAPSE HAS INDIA BACK IN THE GAME

It was short but sweet from Maxwell today. Source: Getty Images

INDIA removed Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch in consecutive overs to revive its hopes of keeping Australia to a chaseable score.

Maxwell looked capable of anything while racing to 23 off 14 balls but sent a Ravi Ashwin delivery straight to Ajinkya Rahane on the boundary to leave Australia 3/232.

Finch, who never really clicked into gear while scoring 81 from 116 balls, was dismissed the following over by Umesh Yadav.

Michael Clarke is now at the crease with Shane Watson and Australia's plans to push towards 400 have to be reeled in.

4.50pm — SMITH FALLS FOR 105

Smith reached his century in 89 balls. Source: News Corp Australia

STEVE Smith has added another chapter to a glorious summer with a potentially match-winning century against India.

The young superstar hit Mohammed Shami for two fours and one six in the span of four deliveries to reach triple figures.

But he was out shortly after for 105 after skying a ball off Umesh Yadav to Rohit Sharma.

Australia took the batting power play at the start of the 33rd over as they look to push towards of score of 350+.

4.10pm — AUSSIES IN CONTROL AT HALFWAY POINT

It hasn't always been pretty but Aaron Finch is still in the middle. Source: Getty Images

AUSTRALIA can set its sights on a total of 300+ after building a great platform at the halfway point of its innings.

Steve Smith (66) and Aaron Finch (47) have added 117 runs for the second wicket to leave the home side 1/132 after 25 overs.

3.30pm — SMITH'S OVER OF PURE GENIUS

Smith predicted the Indians' short-pitched bowling could work against them and it's proving that way. Source: AP

AT 1/40 after nine overs, Australia was well in India's control in today's World Cup semi-final.

But the man who has tormented the Indians all summer, Steve Smith, changed that with one over of batting magic.

The Aussie No. 3 hit the first two deliveries of Umesh Yadav's over to the fence, before breaking his bat playing a drive on the third ball.

He called for a new one and promptly hit the next two balls for four to collect 16 runs for the over and singlehandedly put Australia ahead in the game.

3.15pm — SMITH SETTLES THE INNINGS

Steve Smith has looked in nice touch. Source: News Corp Australia

DAVID Warner is gone and Aaron Finch has crawled to 11 from 27 deliveries but there's a sense of calm at the SCG because of one man — Steve Smith.

Smith immediately settled the Australian innings after Warner's wicket and has raced to 30 from 25 balls to leave Australia 1/56 after 10 overs.

2.45pm — WARNER FAILS AS AUSSIES START POORLY

David Warner lasted just seven deliveries. Source: Getty Images

UMESH Yadav drew a leading edge to remove David Warner cheaply and put Australia on the backfoot early in today's World Cup semi-final.

Warner hit a four and a six to race to 12 in the fourth over before presenting an easy catch to Virat Kohli.

Out of form opener Aaron Finch has looked scratchy early, scoring just one run from his first 12 balls.

2pm — AUSSIES TO BAT FIRST ON SCG DUSTBOWL

Australia's players arrive for a training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Source: AFP

THE SCG groundsman is probably the most nervous bloke in Australia right now as fears heighten he's produced a pitch that will favour India.

The Indians — who rely heavily on the spin of Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja in the middle part of the innings — could only dream of being able to play on a dry wicket.

But it appears they may have got their wish.

"It's the most friendly conditions they could play in," Ian Healy said.

Australian captain Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat. There are no changes to the Australian or Indian teams from the quarterfinals.

Earlier this week Brett Lee moved to down play fears of the Aussie pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood being negated by a lifeless deck.

"The way that Mitchell Starc has been bowling with the brand new ball, most of the work is done through the air and also with his pace," Lee said.

"If he's bowling massive yorkers with the brand new ball it doesn't matter what surface you're playing. The key most importantly is not to worry about the wicket."

Spin king Shane Warne, during an inspection of the pitch today, described the pitch as extremely dry.

"It looks like downtown Chennai," Warne said.

But he said it wasn't time to panic for Australia.

"It's rock hard ... it won't spin as much as you think," Warne said.

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav


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