Twenty20 is the right vision: Ponting
Ricky Ponting did the bashing and Michael Kasprowicz the crashing as Australia welcomed Twenty20 cricket into the international arena.
Ricky Ponting did the bashing and Michael Kasprowicz the crashing as Australia welcomed Twenty20 cricket into the international arena with a 44-run thumping of New Zealand.
Ponting blitzed a 55-ball unbeaten 98 to propel the world champions to an imposing 5-214 at Eden Park before Kasprowicz took 4-29 to dismantle the Black Caps for 170.
The victory completes a 128-year clean sweep by Australia which also took out the first ever Test match in 1877 and inaugural one-day international in 1970.
Ponting deserved to become the first-ever centurion in the 'bash and crash' game after bludgeoning the penultimate over of the innings for 30 runs.
The skipper stood his ground to hit Daryl Tuffey for four sixes, a boundary and a two to take his score to 93.
But he only faced three deliveries in the final over off Andre Adams to fall short by two.
In all Ponting, who dug his side out of trouble at 4-53 with the help of Simon Katich (30 off 25) and Mike Hussey (31 not out off 15), belted eight fours and five sixes.
He rated the historic occasion a success but was unsure whether the concept would catch on in the international arena once the novelty value rubs off.
"It's still hard to know," he said.
"There's still a range of issues that have to be worked through obviously with how we're going to fit it into an international program.
"But I think tonight was a good start and the right direction for the game."
Kasprowicz was just as impressive as his captain in his four overs of seam bowling but downplayed his hand.
"The key to bowling in this game is luck, pure and simple," he said.
"As a bowler you leave your ego in the change room."
Kasprowicz started the rot in the NZ innings by bowling Stephen Fleming and having Matthew Sinclair caught with his first two balls after a strong start had the host 0-49 after five overs.
By the time he took his fourth, and most dangerous, scalp - Chris Cairns skying an edged pull to be out for one - the contest was virtually over at 5-95.
Scott Styris added some respectability with a whirlwind 66 that included five boundaries and three sixes.
A feature of his 39-ball knock was a straight six off Glenn McGrath which Kaprowicz almost miraculously reeled in on the boundary.
Styris was eventually bowled by Brett Lee with 54 runs needed and only six balls left.
Former Test rugby winger Jeff Wilson chimed in with a fine cameo in his international cricket return with 18 off 14 balls before falling in the final over.
The Black Caps may have fallen short but the 29,317-strong crowd went home happy - fuelled by 17 sixes, 31 fours and countless number of memorable 1980s tracks.
It was topped off by Glenn McGrath attempting to deliver the final ball to Kyle Mills underarm.
Umpire Billy Bowden abruptly stopped him and then showed a red card, much to the Aucklanders' delight.
"He said to me at the start of the over he wanted to do it and I said no," Ponting said.
"He said to me after the fourth ball could he do it because he thought it was the last ball of the over and I said no again but he twisted my arm for the last ball.
"It was all a bit of fun and we worked Billy up and he played around with it."
The laughs had flowed freely from the start with the "Beige Caps" impersonating their cricketing forefathers, who were enjoying a reunion, by turning out wearing retro 1980s uniforms.
They also got into the spirit by growing beards and moustaches in an in-team competition which earned the winner several crates of beer for his home club.
"There's no psychological edge we can take out of tonight's game, I just hope the New Zealanders have a shave before we turn up (for the next match)."