Birmingham — How to topple Australia’s stranglehold on Commonwealth gold? Play them at their own game. That was England’s ploy here. Except they went one step further as they played a brutish, physical hand against the perennial holders to put the Kookaburras off their stride before being pegged back and falling short of a first Commonwealth final.
This was electric fare as Phil Roper, with a delicious forehand, and captain Zach Wallace, from a penalty stroke, eked out a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes amid cards, free-hit loitering and Saturday night collisions, which disrupted world No 1 Australia’s rhythm and calm heads.
The umpires were worked hard all night, while England were lucky not to receive more card counts. In the end, though, Australia delivered the knock-out blow and left the field with a seventh successive final berth, against India on Monday, and 38 successive winning matches under their belt in a pulsating 3-2 win, the winner disputed by England and the vociferous 6,000 inside the university grounds.
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