Australia overcome England in opener
An unbroken stand of 93 between captain William Bosisto and Travis Head guided Australia to a six-wicket win over England in their opening game of the ICC Under-19 World Cup.
Returning to Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, where they triumphed over the hosts in April, Adam Ball’s side struggled for impetus throughout their innings, losing wickets at regular intervals to be dismissed for 143 in 38.3 overs. Craig Overton was the top-scorer with 35.
The Somerset all-rounder’s twin brother Jamie gave England hope as he and Essex’s Reece Topley took two wickets apiece with the new ball to reduce Australia to 54 for four.
That brought together Bosisto and Head, whose contrast in styles was key to the success of their partnership. The captain stuck a solitary boundary in a watchful 35, while man of the match Head made 57 not out from 58 balls – including a towering straight six off the first ball of the 36th over to end the contest.
Bosisto elected to field after winning the toss and Australia opening bowlers Joel Paris and Mark Steketee immediately utilised the pace and bounce on offer to reduce England to six for two in the second over.
Paris shaped a delivery back to trap Daniel Bell-Drummond in front, while in-form wicketkeeper batsman Ben Foakes shouldered arms to a Steketee in-swinger and was bowled.
Opener Alex Davies edged a short ball from Steketee behind and when Aneesh Kapil was also caught at the wicket to give New South Wales seamer Gurinder Sandhu the first of three scalps, England were 61 for four.
Craig Overton remained and appeared in fine touch, lofting leg-spinner Shane Cassell over midwicket for four before pulling the same bowler to the fence in his next over, but he fell among a clatter of mid-innings wickets to quell prospects of an England recovery.
Ashton Turner replaced the struggling Cassell as Australia’s spin option and found himself on a hat-trick via the final two balls of his second over - Ben Duckett inside-edged a drive onto the stumps and Sam Wood was plumb lbw first ball.
The hat-trick was averted, but not before Craig Overton feathered a drive to wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson off Sandhu as England slumped to 96 for seven.
Jamie Overton joined skipper Ball in the middle and the pair had moved the score on to 125 when the former chipped Turner to Sandhu at long-on.
Ball was left unbeaten on 20 as the tail offered little resistance, but England soon had reasons for optimism as Topley yorked Peirson in the first over of Australia’s reply without a run on the board.
Craig Overton took slip catches off his brother to account for Cameron Bancroft and Kurtis Patterson either side of Topley finding a leading edge to have Meywick Buchanan pouched at mid-on.
The game appeared delicately poised, but Bosisto and Head proceeded in untroubled fashion, making batting appear an easier pastime than it had for those before them on both sides.
Having brought up his half century five balls earlier, Head sealed Australia’s victory emphatically by sending Craig Overton over long-on for the first six of the match.