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Big-hitting Lynn in line as England prepare to send Aussies packing

Cricket

Jos Buttler is hoping England can deliver a knockout blow to Australia in the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston.

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The Ashes rivals will square up for the second successive edition of the tournament, with England in the enviable position of knowing after their two Group A wins that they have already booked a semi-final berth in Cardiff next week.

Before then, Australia will almost certainly need to beat Eoin Morgan’s hosts in Birmingham on Saturday to sneak a return to the same venue in the last four after their two washouts to date.

The tie is a repeat of the 2013 fixture, comfortably won by England on the way to that year’s final in a match better remembered for a vexed aftermath in which Australia opener David Warner ended up aiming a punch at Joe Root in a city-centre bar after a late-night misunderstanding between the two players.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler, one of three survivors alongside Root and Morgan from England’s victory almost exactly four years ago, knows England can land a metaphorical but terminal shot this time.

“We won’t think too much about it … but it is always nice to know that would be the outcome if we did win,” Buttler said of the chance to end Australia’s tournament.

“We now know we have qualified for the semi-finals, but we want to be going into a semi-final on the back of a win – and we’ll be desperate to do that on Saturday.”

Whatever the consequences, Buttler confirmed the stakes always rise against Australia.

“Of course they do – any England-Australia game is a huge game,” he said.

“Both sides are very aggressive, attacking teams. We will not change our style of cricket. We’ll keep trying to take them on.

“They’ve got some good pace bowlers, but we’ll try and be aggressive with the bat as well.”

It was also in Birmingham that Morgan’s England first unveiled their new ODI template of all-out attack at the first attempt after their miserable 2015 World Cup campaign, with centuries from Buttler and Root in a 210-run win over New Zealand.

“We’ve got some good memories of playing there. It’s a ground we like playing at – which is one of the advantages of being at home, isn’t it?

“We have to make the most of that.”

Australia coach Darren Lehmann has hinted there may be a role for Chris Lynn in the do-or-die clash.

The big-hitting Queenslander has been omitted from the two washed-out group matches against New Zealand and Bangladesh despite his excellent form in this year’s IPL.

Moises Henriques has been preferred to Lynn by the selectors, who also harbour private concerns about him being hampered in the field by his troublesome left shoulder.

To book their spot in the semi-finals, Australia has to beat an England team that has registered over 300 in 23 of their last 44 innings since April 2015 – and lost just one of their last 10 ODIs.

Australia have a powerful top-three in Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith but the option of the free-swinging Lynn coming in to put pressure on Eoin Morgan’s side with the bat could work in his favour.

“He’ll come into contention again for the last game against England,” said Lehmann.

“At the moment we’ve gone with (Adam) Zampa who came in for Hastings (v Bangladesh) because we thought it would spin. He bowled very well, but he is a real chance to play, Lynn.”

Australia are the only team in the competition to have both of their matches cruelled by the weather.

They felt justifiably hard done by when Monday’s match against Bangladesh was washed out at The Oval just four overs shy of a winning result being called via the Duckworth-Lewis system.

Skipper Smith was upset play didn’t continue soon after the rain stopped, with the heavens opening again 40 minutes later when the covers were finally about to come off.

Lehmann said the ICC must look at rules about rain, with umpires allowed to let play continue during a light shower but unable to bring players back out in a similar situation.

“It’s disappointing isn’t it? The game of cricket is there for the fans and you want to play as much as you can,” Lehmann said.

“I sit on the cricket committee for the ICC and we are all about trying to play as much cricket as you can.

“It’s always a tough one, the ground staff and the umpires do the best they can, but we just have to play.

“If it was a T20 game, a packed house at the Oval or a packed house at the MCG I am sure there would have been play somewhere.

“My view is simple, play as much cricket as you can where you possibly can.

“You can’t go back on when it’s raining so we have to change a few things.”

-PA, AAP

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