Australia 221 England 144 (Australia win by 77 runs): England flattered by 77-run thrashing

The format may be different but the results and the one-sided nature of the cricket show little sign of changing; at least until New Zealand arrive in Australia later this week, anyway. England's Australian torment continued under floodlights yesterday here in Sydney and their illumination only highlighted the huge gulf in class that exists between these two teams.

Australia, apparently, treat Twenty20 internationals only as a bit of fun. Ricky Ponting, the captain, is not a huge fan of the format and his team don nicknames rather than surnames on their shoulders. Heavens knows what would have happened had they dared to take it seriously.

If anything, the size of the defeat - 77 runs - flattered England, who were never in the match once Adam Gilchrist and Ponting set about them. The pair put on 69 runs in 35 balls for the second wicket, a partnership that provided Australia's powerful middle-order hitters with the perfect platform from which to open their shoulders and give the ball an almighty whack. Andrew Symonds and Cameron White carted England's stunned attack for 64 in the final five overs of Australia's innings.

Australia struck 14 sixes in their total of 221 for 5, the highest in the 13-match history of international Twenty20 cricket. In return, England mustered a rather pathetic one six. Paul Nixon hit it in the final over of the game, taking England to 144 for 9 in their allotted overs.

This was Australia's fifth game of Twenty20 cricket and in those matches they have posted four of the top five scores. The figure and the style of this performance show that they will continue to dominate any form of cricket they choose to play.

It is hard to know where England go from here. Their bowlers were flogged and the batsmen had little idea of how to chase down a huge total against inexperienced but highly disciplined opponents. Glenn McGrath, Stuart Clark and Brett Lee are likely to be back in Melbourne on Friday. I am sure Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, and Vaughan cannot wait.

James Anderson was the most roughly treated of England's bowlers, conceding 64 runs in four overs. Anderson was clobbered for six mighty sixes with Gilchrist smashing three off consecutive balls at the start of his third over. When the third maximum went sailing into the second tier of the Bill O'Reilly Stand, thoughts of Garfield Sobers and Malcolm Nash in Swansea came flooding back.

The only glint of encouragement for England came from Michael Vaughan, whose dodgy right knee appeared to come through the game unscathed. Vaughan dived around in the field and sprinted several quick singles and twos during his innings of 27. The England captain looked in reasonable touch with the bat, too, driving Nathan Bracken through the covers for four and pulling the debutant Shane Harwood, in trademark fashion, to the square-leg boundary.

"Playing for England again was, obviously, a good moment for me but losing is not a great feeling," said Vaughan. "Coming back is always a testing time because you never quite know how your body is going to react to the crowd and the situation. I was pleased with my form and the body reacted in a positive fashion.

"Australia made it difficult for us. They are a very powerful team, as you saw with some of their hitting and the sixes. Chasing 221 was always going to be difficult. We made a lot of beating Australia at Hampshire a couple of years ago and we went out to win tonight, but we did not play well enough.

"Australia were better than us in all areas of the game and that is something we have to learn from. Over the next couple of days we need to think up a strategy that will lead us into the World Cup. Playing the No 1 team in their own back yard is difficult but there is no reason why we cannot compete with and beat them in a couple of these games."

If England were to have any chance of reaching their target they needed significant input from their master-blasters, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen. But both failed to get going. Flintoff spliced a pull at Harwood and was caught meekly at square-leg while Pietersen was run out by a direct hit from Harwood, running in from the third man boundary.

Ben Hilfenhaus underlined his promise by taking two cheap wickets in an excellent spell. England's innings ended in farcical style when Nixon made Monty Panesar look foolish attempting a ridiculous single to the keeper with his side needing 83 runs off four balls. Nixon talked about calm heads and taking the right option before the game. Enough said.

With England's innings in tatters, the announcer on the public address decided to stick the boot in as Paul Collingwood went out to bat. Shane Warne famously sledged Collingwood for receiving an MBE during the Sydney Test and as he walked out the announcer screamed out: "And coming to the crease now is Paul Collingwood MBE."

Whether Collingwood heard the man on the Tannoy is debatable, so loud was the music being played. Indeed, the Sydney Cricket Ground resembled a nightclub for most of the evening, with the DJ pressing pause onl;y when the bowler began his run-up. For anyone but the England team it will be nice to get back to the relative calm of 50-over cricket on Friday.

Sydney scoreboard

Australia won toss

Australia

ÝA C Gilchrist b Panesar 48

M L Hayden c Dalrymple b Anderson 20

*R T Ponting c Lewis b Collingwood 47

M E K Hussey st Nixon b Panesar 18

A Symonds not out 39

M J Clarke run out 5

C L White not out 40

Extras (lb2 w2) 4

Total (for 5, 20 overs) 221

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

Did Not Bat: G B Hogg, N W Bracken, B W Hilfenhaus, S M Harwood.

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 C Joyce c Hussey b Bracken 1

*M P Vaughan lbw b Symonds 27

A Flintoff c White b Harwood 0

K P Pietersen run out 11

I R Bell b Hilfenhaus 22

P D Collingwood c White b Hilfenhaus 5

ÝP A Nixon not out 31

J W M Dalrymple lbw b Symonds 32

J Lewis c Gilchrist b White 1

M S Panesar run out 1

J M Anderson not out 1

Extras (b4 lb1 w6 nb1) 12

Total 9 wkts (20 overs) 144

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

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.

Umpires: P D Parker and R L Parry.

Match referee: R S Madugalle (S Lanka).

Australia beat England by 77 runs.

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