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Ponting and Co crush England

Getting stuck in a beer queue and missing a few of Adam Gilchrist's five sixes was the least of one's worries at tonight's Twenty20 international match, the cricket is only part of the entertainment.

This is cricket but not as we know it, with Australia smashing a world-record Twenty20 score of 5-221 from its 20 overs, then easily restricting England to 144 for 9.

Australia's total beat the previous world record held by Ricky Ponting's side of 5-214 against New Zealand in Auckland in February 2005.

Gilchrist's 29-ball innings of 48 included five sixes and two fours and the big-hitting left-hander had the sell-out crowd on its feet when he smashed England medium-pacer James Anderson for three consecutive sixes in the sixth over.

Andrew Symonds (39 not out) and Cameron White (40 not out) added a half-century stand with Kevin Pietersen dropping a simple outfield catch as White hit two of his four sixes in the final over.

Captain Ricky Ponting, who won the toss and elected to bat, clipped two sixes in his 47 after opener Matthew Hayden made 20. England spinner Monty Panesar took 2-40.

Tonight's game between Australia and England at Sydney Cricket Ground attracted a huge crowd estimated at over 35,000 and featured duelling DJs in a "scratch-off", live radio commentary from eccentric media personality H.G Nelson on Triple J, fireworks, dancers, and player interviews during the game.

As the on-field announcer admitted pre-game: "For me, it's all about the dancers." Five bikini-clad beauties in green and gold lined up alongside five girls in England's red and white and it was pom-poms all round.

English DJ Judge Jules battled it out with Australian DJ Grant Smillie 15 minutes before the game started.

Jules played an upbeat version of "God save the Queen" before asking for "all the Poms to sing up loud".

Smillie responded from his little stage by the centre-wicket area with Rose Tattoo's "We can't be beaten" followed by, you guessed it, Men At Work's 1982 hit "Down Under".

By this time the pom-pom girls from both sides had got together to form a human pyramid but they were soon back dancing as Jules kept the music flowing for the England fans.

Smillie hit back with another old favourite, AC/DC's "Back in Black", followed by Jimmy Barnes belting out "Working Class Man".

As the latecomers filed in to take their seats, Australia's openers Matthew "Haydos" Hayden and Adam "Church" Gilchrist strode purposefully onto the field as more AC/DC music was piped around the ground.

When "Church" hit three consecutive sixes off the bowling of James Anderson in the sixth over of the innings, the crowd just couldn't get enough. He finished with a breathtaking 48 off 29 balls but there was plenty more big hitting to come in Australia's 5-221.

Batsmen had been given a licence to thrill, to play shots and hang the consequences.

Asked by Channel Nine's Ian Healy what was said at Australia's pre-game team meeting, Hayden explained: "Uh, there wasn't one."

Fireworks blasted out across the stadium at the change of innings as the entertainment just rolled on.

It was only the second Twenty20 international played in Australia, following the 95-run win by the home side over South Africa at the Gabba 12 months ago in front of 38,894 fans.

The game has swept the country, with the Big Bash Twenty20 interstate series attracting bumper crowds including 27,653 at the Gabba last Friday night to see the Bulls beat NSW by nine runs.

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