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    June 14, 2005

    England land first punch with a Twenty20 thrashing of Australia

    England thrashed Australia by 100 runs yesterday at the Rose Bowl in the first Twenty20 international in England. England made 179/8 while Australia were shot out within 15 overs for 79. A loss by 100 runs in a 50 over one-dayer is considered a real hiding. We may need to invent a new term to describe a loss by this margin in a 20 over a side game.

    The win meant that England have now beaten Australia in all three forms of the game in their most recent encounters, by winning at Sydney and Edgbaston. England's Twenty20 win also means that they've added to winning the first test, one-day international to be played between Australia & England in England.

    England won the toss and batted first. Geraint Jones and Trescothick gave them a good start, with Jones taking on the bowlers after he was reprieved when caught off a free hit following a no-ball from Brett Lee. Flintoff went cheaply and then Pietersen took the stage and unveiled his power game, smacking boundaries at will. He put on a half-century partnership with Trescothick in just five overs. But Clarke struck when he had Pietersen caught in the deep in his first over. Vaughan went first ball in the next over and two overs later, Trescothick was dismissed as well, leaving England in a bit of trouble at 109/5.

    Paul Collingwood then had a quickfire 49 run partnership with Andrew Strauss, who found himself walking in at #7. For the record, Strauss was dismissed by Gillespie, not McGrath. Collingwood managed to get Vikram Solanki, who must have been wondering what he was doing at #8, to play a few shots as well. He was dismissed off the last ball of the innings but his 46(28) had ensured that England set Australia a defendable target.

    Brett Lee sacrificed direction for pace, Gillespie was thrashed around, McGrath picked up three wickets while Symonds took two. Ponting's move to bowl Clarke and Symonds in tandem paid off for a while.

    Australia's response started belligerently with Hayden and Gilchrist putting on 20 on the board in the first couple of overs. Gough then dismissed both openers in identical fashion, attempted pulls landing at mid-wicket where Pietersen took the catches. Jon Lewis, representing England in an international for the first time, struck twice in the next over. First he had Clarke given out caught behind, although replays suggested the ball had missed the bat. Then Symonds flicked straight to Pietersen at mid-wicket and Australia were tottering at 24/4. The contest was effectively over at this stage. Yet, the rules of cricket do not allow the game to be called off. So England kept bowling and Australia kept getting out. Gough had Hussey caught at slip, Lewis had Ponting hitting straight to mid-wicket, where Pietersen was strangely absent now, and Martyn was out caught at slip. The score was 31/7 and the crowd was chanting "Are you Bangladesh in disguise?"

    Lee and Gillespie put on a few runs as Flintoff gave Lee a taste of his own medicine by chucking in a few bouncers to hit him and make him fend awkwardly. The end came a few runs later when Harmison cleaned up McGrath. The fact that Gillespie and McGrath made 37% of Australia's runs will worry both sides! Pevin Kietersen was named man of the match.

    That said, Ponting and Vaughan seemed to indicate that the result of the game would not have much of an impact on the rest of the series, including the one-dayers and tests. Of course, if the result had been the other way around, Australians would have gone to town about how the mental scars will remain raw for a while etc. etc.

    Reports from the rest of the media:

    Andrew Miller on "Twenty balls of bedlam".

    Jonathan Agnew votes for the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in a Twenty20 format.

    Simon Briggs wonders if there is a change of guard happening following the win.

    David Hopps is categorical that first blood went to England.

    Simon Barnes asks for Twenty20 to be made the only form of the game, obviously wallowing in the heady spirits that victory over Australia brings.

    Alec Stewart attempted to play spoilsport by warning England that this was just a Twenty20 game.

    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:54 AM |
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