By Liam Morgan

Australia booked their place in the World Cup final with a commanding win over India ©Getty ImagesAustralia booked their place in the Cricket World Cup final against fellow co-hosts New Zealand with a dominant 95-run win over reigning champions India in Sydney.

Batting first, the Aussies posted a decent score of 328-7, which included a swashbuckling innings of 105 from Steve Smith, while opener Aaron Finch also chipped in with a composed 81.

Chasing a World Cup record semi-final total, India began brightly as Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma built an opening stand of 76.

However, they then lost four wickets for a miserly 32 runs before captain MS Dhoni attempted to steady the ship with a superb 65 under immense pressure from the Australian bowlers, who peppered the batsmen with short-pitched deliveries.

Once Dhoni was run out by Glenn Maxwell, his team's hopes of getting the chance to defend their title all but vanished as the co-hosts seized the initiative, eventually bowling India out for 233 following another lower-order collapse.

The result saw Australia win their seventh World Cup semi-final in a row and they will be bidding for a fifth title when they face arch rivals New Zealand in front of a crowd of up to 100,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday (March 29).

The two sides were both touted as potential winners before the tournament started and the final is set to be a thrilling affair.

Australia batsman Steve Smith became the first player to hit a World Cup semi-final century as his 105 helped his side reach the final at the expense of India ©Getty ImagesAustralia batsman Steve Smith became the first Australian player to hit a World Cup semi-final century as his 105 helped his side reach the final at the expense of India ©Getty Images

India were dealt a blow almost immediately as Dhoni lost the toss on a pitch that looked to be conducive to high-scoring, and so it proved as the Australians went about setting an insurmountable total.

After David Warner fell with the score on 15, Smith and Finch put on a second-wicket partnership of 182 but the Indians fought back thanks largely to a tricky spell of bowling from Umesh Yadav, who consistently found his line and length on his way to claiming 4-72.

Smith, widely regarded as one of the top young talents in international cricket, demonstrated the vast array of shots he has in his locker as he became the first Australian man to hit a century in a World Cup semi-final, but his team were clearly disappointed that they did not manage to add more runs to their total.

Even so, it proved to be out of India's reach as they failed to capitalise on a good start before poor decision making once again plagued their batting.

They eventually fell well short of the required target as the Aussies celebrated reaching another final, which won't feature an Asian nation for the first time since 1987.

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