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Australia means business in Twenty20

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AUSSIE DELIGHT: Adam Gilchrist is ecstatic as Kevin Pietersen fails to return to the crease in time. PHOTO: AP
AUSSIE DELIGHT: Adam Gilchrist is ecstatic as Kevin Pietersen fails to return to the crease in time. PHOTO: AP

Ted Corbett

  • Gilchrist scored 48 with five sixes
  • Panesar chipped in with two wickets

    SYDNEY: In the midst of the international Twenty20 hullabaloo, the fireworks, the non-stop music, dancing girls with their whirling pom-poms, the ridiculous commentary from an Aussie voice which appeared to think Andrew Flintoff was still the England captain 14 Australian sixes and 14 fours there was a self-evident truth: that England's run of wretched performances shows no sign of coming to a halt.

    Real thrashing

    This match was meant to be a bit of fun, a Silly Cricket Giggle at the SCG, a warm-up ahead of the more dignified one-day tri-series.

    Yet it will only serve to leave another sneer on England's characters. It finished on 144 for nine and lost by a huge margin of 77 runs.

    Even the most ardent Aussie in the 35,628 crowd did not want to believe this, the latest step on the one-way ladder to the cellar.

    The public address announcer of all people added his own brand of sledging to the now universally accepted idea that anyone can have a go at the Poms by heralding Paul Collingwood's arrival at the crease with the declaration that "Here he is, Paul Collingwood M-B-E!" It was not even his own joke.

    Shane Warne's accusation that Collingwood's award after playing in one Ashes Test was "embarrassing" is still haunting the batsman who must have thought a double hundred qualified him for some respect. Not Down Under.

    England lost its first two wickets for five runs in the first two overs as it faced the daunting task of scoring a record 222 after Jon Lewis and Kevin Pietersen, two safe fielders, dropped catches which might have been held by the newest possessor of the CBE, Geoff Boycott's cat.

    By the 12th over it had lost six wickets for 78, including Michael Vaughan for 27 off 21 balls. By the 18th over England needed to score at 47 an over to win. There are what the cricketers call positives, even in a defeat of this magnitude. Vaughan's return, as assured as we remembered him, as commanding in the field you could hope.

    It was a comfort to see him in command at mid-off, to think what might have been when he produced the only innings of the evening that did not remind you of a wind-up doll. Yet his presence clearly did not inspire the rest and when his optimistic call resulted in Pietersen's run out, it looked as if Pietersen was severely critical as he left the crease.

    Swashbuckling

    Australia won the toss and batted with the fervour it has shown in all its matches during the 5-0 Ashes series.

    You really don't need much more than an Adam Gilchrist at the top of the order to score 48 with five sixes but when the sometimes stolid Matthew Hayden hitting 20 in eight balls, when Ricky Ponting, who says he cannot take the game seriously, makes 47 in 26 balls and Cameron White hits four sixes you know there is a serious assault.

    Monty Panesar and Collingwood kept a foot on the brake and Panesar sneaked two wickets.

    Counter that with sloppy fielding, miserable throwing, apathy, failure to run hard and a nought for Flintoff and you can only wonder what on earth has happened to the side that rushed to second place in the Test world rankings in little more than two years.

    The retirement of Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn suggested there might be a happy ending to this story of The Eleven Dwarfs meet the Big Bad Wolves but now that looks less likely than a Panesar century.

    The scores: Australia: A. Gilchrist b Panesar 48, M. Hayden c Dalrymple b Anderson 20, R. Ponting c Lewis b Collingwood 47, M. Hussey st Nixon b Panesar 18, A. Symonds (not out) 39, M. Clarke (run out) 5, C. White (not out) 40; Extras (lb-2, w-2) 4; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs) 221.

    Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-97, 3-123, 4-149, 5-155.

    England bowling: Flintoff 4-0-36-0, Anderson 4-0-64-1, Panesar 4-0-40-2, Lewis 3-0-31-0, Dalrymple 1-0-12-0, Collingwood 4-0-36-1.

    England: E. Joyce c Hussey b Bracken 1, A. Flintoff c White b Harwood 0, M. Vaughan lbw b Symonds 27, K. Pietersen (run out) 11, I. Bell b Hilfenhaus 22, P. Collingwood c White b Hilfenhaus 5, P. Nixon (not out) 31, J. Dalrymple lbw b Symonds 32, J. Lewis st Gilchrist b White 1, M. Panesar (run out) 1, J. Anderson (not out) 1; Extras (b-4, lb-1, w-6, nb-1) 12; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs) 144.

    Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-5, 3-32, 4-54, 5-68, 6-78, 7-127, 8-129, 9-138.

    Australia bowling: Bracken 3-0-20-1, Harwood 4-0-44-1, Hilfenhaus 4-0-16-2, Symonds 4-0-24-2, Hogg 3-0-24-0, White 2-0-11-1.

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