Cooper ton powers Aussie Colts

The first century of the Under 19 World Cup was the springboard for a comprehensive Australian victory against South Africa in the opening round of games.

Despite a rocky start as Western Province’s Craig Alexander removed Usman Khawaja and Tom Stray in his second over, Cooper – alongside skipper Moises Henriques and Aaron Finch – was patient in building his innings. Beyond Alexander, the South African seam attack was ineffective, and their spin reserves unsuited to the SSC wicket.

Henriques, Finch and David Warner struck nine sixes between them as the Australian lower order blasted their team’s total beyond 300, with only Alexander (4 for 47) emerging with any real credit for the South Africans.

In contrast to their rivals, Australia were able to call upon the services of four tall seam bowlers, and they struck eight times between them. Henriques made two early breakthroughs, before Simon Keen (3 for 10) blew away the heart of the middle order. From 85 for 7, the only respite South Africa could hope for was the introduction of spin – and even as lone spinner Jack McNamara and supersub William Sheridan shared ten wicketless overs, they were unable to score at any rate.

The return of Henriques, and a pair of run-outs off McNamara, brought the end of the South African chase – the small matter of 175 runs shy of their target. With the USA as the fourth side in the group, Australia have taken a giant step towards the last eight.

Australia 316
Tom Cooper 104, Aaron Finch 74
Craig Alexander 4/47, Brett Thompson 2/19

South Africa 141
Jean Symes 34*, Richard Levi 20
Simon Keen 3/10, Moises Henriques 3/37

Australia won by 175 runs

In the day’s other three matches, Sri Lanka overcame a spirited effort from the unfancied Scottish side to record an unconvincing four-wicket win. Scotland’s captain, Kasiam Farid, hit a crucial 76 as they posted 186, but Sachithra Serasinghe remained cool enough to capitalise on some unconvincing Scottish fielding and bowling to guide his side home, making 64 in a 69-run stand with captain Angelo Mathews for the sixth wicket.

Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were more convincing winners (there’s a sentence you won’t see often), disposing of New Zealand and Ireland respectively. The Tigers overcame an early stumble in their chase of 176, as Mehrab Hossain added a composed 38* to his earlier 4/29 to see his side to the brink of victory. Number nine Sirajullah Khadim then nervelessly struck a six and four off two of the four balls he faced to overhaul the target with more than twelve overs to spare.

Zimbabwe’s total of 215 for 7, from a rain-reduced 44 overs, didn’t initially seem particularly imposing – only Donald Samunderu passing 30 – but once he and Keagan Meth had cut into the Irish top order, the result was a foregone conclusion. No Irish batsman got beyond 17 as they stumbled to 97 all out, Ryan Higgins and Graeme Cremer finishing the Ireland tail.

Scotland 186 (K Farid 76, NLTC Perera 3/26)
lost to
Sri Lanka 187-6 (SC Serasinghe 64, G Goudie 3/25)

New Zealand 175 (TD Astle 44, Mehrab Hossain 4/29)
lost to
Bangladesh 176-7 (Mehrab Hossain 38*, HK Bennett 2/39)

Zimbabwe 215-7 (KD Samunderu 61, GJ Thompson 3/48)
Ireland 97 (JD Hall 17, K Meth 3/15)

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Neil Pickup