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And now for some real Pommy bashing

Surely there could be no starker illustration of the change of seasons within a season than this.

Only four days after the latest chapter in the tradition-steeped rivalry that is the Ashes, cricket's brash sibling, Twenty20, rocked the SCG to its rafters last night before a bumper crowd of 35,628.

Any old-timers in the Members Stand who had returned after the fifth Test may have mused that it was Australia versus England, but not as we know it.

With last week's farewell messages to Test retirees Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer still visible on the outfield grass, England set out hoping to finally win something on their ill-starred tour.

Gone were the white shirts of the 130-year-old form of the game. In came the brightly coloured uniforms of the three-hour version, with the players' nicknames on the back.

Also gone were the subtleties, guile and tactics of the longer game. In came biff, bash, thump and wallop.

As rock music blared from the ground's speakers between balls, England's travelling fans, the Barmy Army, were drowned out - a rare event this summer. But they had little to sing about in the first innings as Australia piled on a record 5-221 from 20 overs.

It was the highest score in the 13 Twenty20 internationals played so far, eclipsing the old mark of 5-214 scored by Australia against New Zealand in the first match in Auckland in 2005. The opener Adam Gilchrist top-scored with 48, including five towering sixes. The England paceman James Anderson will be convinced this is no form of the game for any self-respecting bowler, his four overs costing a whopping 64 runs.

In response, England made only 9-144, suffering a 77-run defeat. There was little to suggest they will meet better fortune in the 50-over tri-nations competition against Australia and New Zealand, which starts when England play the hosts in Melbourne on Friday.

While the presentation dais at the Ashes had faced the Members Stand, there were two mini-stages last night for a battle of DJs from each country. Both faced the raucous Yabba's Hill. As with the Tests, God Save the Queen was played, but it had a dance beat.

There were also dancers and fireworks. And unlike the Tests, officials warned fans to keep their eyes on the ball - lest they be hit by one of the many sixes expected to be clubbed over the fence.

Although traditionalists may scoff, Twenty20 has captured the imagination of the cricketing public since it was born four years ago. Some purists insist it will be a fad, but last night's crowd, and the advent of a Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa later this year, suggest it is here to stay.

source - theage.com.au
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