We died by the sword - Strauss

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Ricky Ponting & Andrew Strauss

Andrew Strauss congratulates opposite number Ricky Ponting after his masterful unbeaten century saw Australia home

England captain Andrew Strauss backed his side's approach but bemoaned the execution as their ICC Champions Trophy hopes were ended in emphatic fashion by Australia.

Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting hit splendid unbeaten centuries in a record unbroken stand of 252 for the second wicket as Australia booked their place in Monday’s final.

They made light of the early loss of Tim Paine to triumph by nine wickets with 8.1 overs to spare under the Centurion floodlights, and leave England lamenting a disjointed batting display.

Their batting travails during last month's NatWest Series resurfaced in the opening hour and a half as they slumped to 101 for six after winning the toss, and their total of 257 owed much to a career-best 80 from Tim Bresnan and Luke Wright's 48.

“We were definitely keen to go out there and play our shots on a very good wicket and unfortunately it didn't come off today," said Strauss. "You live by the sword and you die by the sword.

"As a template going forward we have to keep playing our shots. It's refreshing to see the guys going out there and expressing themselves but we have to work on our skills to improve our percentages.”

While Strauss saluted Bresnan’s contribution – the all-rounder, a replacement for the injured Stuart Broad, spearheaded a 107-run stand with Wright for the seventh wicket – he admitted the top-order failings ultimately proved decisive.

"It's frustrating,” Strauss added. “When you lose six wickets for 100 runs on that kind of surface you are always struggling.

“Tim Bresnan played exceptionally well and was well supported by Luke Wright.

“We weren't completely out of the game at the halfway mark but it was a 300-par wicket and we were still quite light, which meant we needed three or four wickets with the new ball, which we weren't able to get.

"You always hope under lights it might misbehave a little bit and there's always pressure chasing but Ponting and Watson played exceptionally well."

Tim Bresnan

Tim Bresnan perishes for 80, his highest ODI score, but England's total of 257 proved well within Australia's reach

Australia will meet the winners of today’s semi-final between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Wanderers in Monday’s showpiece at Centurion.

For Strauss, whose side have now lost seven of the last eight matches to Australia over the past month, there is no doubt who he believes will triumph.

"It's hard to look past Australia," he said. "They are on a great run and are hard to beat."

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