CENTURION, South Africa, (Reuters) – Unbeaten centuries by captain Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson led holders Australia to a crushing nine-wicket win over England in yesterday’s Champions Trophy semi-final.
Australia now meet the winners of today’s match between New Zealand and Pakistan in Monday’s final at Centurion.
Ponting scored 111, passing 12,000 one-day international runs in the process, and Watson made 136 as Australia hit 258 for one in 41.5 overs.
England were earlier bowled out for 257, a total which owed much to a seventh-wicket stand of 107 between Luke Wright (48) and Tim Bresnan (80).
Opener Watson, finding his form after a lean run, cracked 10 fours and seven sixes in 132 balls.
Ponting, who went to the crease in the second over after Graham Onions had Tim Paine caught behind for four, quickly took control.
He cruised to his half-century in 58 deliveries and needed only 46 more to register his 28th ODI ton.
England’s attack had no answer as Ponting and Watson shared an unbroken partnership of 252, a record for any Australian wicket.
The previous best was 237 for the fourth wicket between Ponting and Andrew Symonds against Sri Lanka in Sydney in 2006.
The Australian skipper’s immaculate shot-selection put England to the sword while Watson struck several big blows at the end, thumping his last 36 runs in 17 balls.
England were in desperate trouble after winning the toss and choosing to bat first, slumping to 101 for six.
However, Bresnan and Wright stuck together for nearly 20 overs as they shared the best seventh-wicket stand for England against Australia.
Bresnan scored his maiden ODI half-century, hitting 80 in 76 balls before being bowled by Brett Lee, while Wright was caught behind by Paine off Peter Siddle. Paine finished with five catches. Siddle took three for 55, fellow paceman Lee claimed two for 46 and man of the match Watson chipped in with two for 35.