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Martyn puts Australia in strong position

Source - theage.com.au

Damien Martyn fell agonizingly short of international cricket's maiden Twenty20 century but steered Australia into a formidable position in Monday night's historic match against South Africa at the Gabba.

Damien Martyn fell agonizingly short of international cricket's maiden Twenty20 century but steered Australia into a formidable position in Monday night's historic match against South Africa at the Gabba.

Martyn delighted the record crowd as he bludgeoned 96 runs from 56 balls - including seven fours and five sixes - to set the tourists a victory target of 210 from their 20 overs.

The Australians rocketed to 3-209 from 20 overs courtesy of a 22-run final over off Monde Zondeki.

The total was only five runs short of the highest international team score, 214, set by Australia against New Zealand at Eden Park last year.

Zondeki was belted to all parts of the ground by local hero Andrew Symonds, who smashed six boundaries and two sixes on his way to an unbeaten 54 from 26 balls.

Symonds and Martyn put on 84 runs for the third wicket before Zondeki had Martyn caught by Herschelle Gibbs with the score at 3-187 on the first ball of the final over.

Martyn and all-rounder James Hopes (17 off 20 balls) kick-started the avalanche of runs with the pair blasting 57 inside the opening seven overs before Shaun Pollock (1-34 from four overs) struck.

Pollock had been hit for an enormous six by Martyn in his previous over but extracted revenge against Hopes who edged him to Jacques Kallis at first slip.

His dismissal failed to trigger any resemblance of a collapse as skipper Ricky Ponting took up the challenge.

Ponting (27 off 18 balls) and Martyn added a quick-fire 46 runs in a second wicket stand that allowed Channel Nine to showcase one of its latest innovations to the game.

They wired South African captain Graeme Smith for sound prior to the game and caught his immediate reaction to dropping a sitter from Martyn when he was on 40.

"My chest got too big," he told commentator and former Test batsman Michael Slater.

"It was a shocker."

He waited until the next over to jokingly use the lights as an excuse.

South African off-spinner Johan Botha avoided jeers from the crowd over his controversial bowling action but returned the unflattering figures of 1-43 from four overs.

Andrew Hall (0-38 from four overs) and Zondeki (1-41 off three) also received some rough treatment from the Australians.

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