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All Stars thrash Australia in Twenty20

Even back on home soil, with Andrew Symonds recalled and playing against a team with two retirees, Australia still can't take a trick.

The Australians, pounded 2-0 by India in the subcontinent, opened their home summer with a 64-run loss to the Australian Cricket Association All Stars in a Twenty20 charity fundraiser at the Gabba on Friday night.

The world champions were never in the hunt after former Test opener Justin Langer showed he'd lost little of his class in retirement, whacking an unbeaten 52 in a 120-run stand with a freewheeling Brad Hodge (65 not out off 45).

Symonds, in his first game in national colours since being dumped following the 'gone fishing' affair, ripped out some signature blows after a rusty start but couldn't get his side close to the All Stars' 4-203.

When Symonds holed out in the 14th over for 45 off 35, the Australians were as good as gone at 6-105, needing 14 an over to win. They made just 34 more runs to be dismissed for 139 in the penultimate over.

All Stars opener Michael Dighton, who provided the early springboard with 34 off 13 balls, had another of the highlights with a remarkable overhead catch on the long-on boundary to dismiss Cameron White.

All Stars skipper Adam Gilchrist, playing his first match in six months, turned the screws on his old teammates early rotating his three best pacemen in the first 10 overs with Steve Magoffin (2-21) and Brendan Drew (2-41) reducing them to 5-59.

"It was a relaxed way to get back into the big picture," said Symonds, who felt his Test teammates struggled to come to terms with the extra Gabba bounce after eight weeks in India.

Langer and man-of-the-match Hodge came to their team's rescue in the charity fundraiser after the All Stars lost 4-16 in 13 balls after a crackerjack start to be 4-83.

But Australia was saved from chasing an even bigger total by an accidental hero, Tasmanian finger spinner Xavier Doherty, a late replacement for sick captain Michael Clarke.

Doherty removed chief dangerman and state teammate Dighton with a direct hit from mid-off that caught the hard-hitting opener millimetres short of his ground in the sixth over.

Dighton had belted four sixes and two fours to be 32 off his first eight balls, making Gilchrist (25 off 20) look positively pedestrian.

The pair put on 67 in the first five overs before Shaun Tait clean bowled Gilchrist with a searing inswinger.

Doherty also bowled his Tasmanian captain, Dan Marsh, for a golden duck with his first ball, while Simon Katich (1) fell to Peter Siddle.

Among the loudest cheers came when a shoeless youngster named Tom was called on to help out in the field for the Australians.

One of two boys returning all-rounder Andrew Symonds invited over the rope at long-on during the 15th over, Tom chased a straight drive by Hodge which was cut off by a diving David Hussey who flicked the ball to the youngster, who did his best but failed to catch it.

A hapless Brett Geeves copped the brunt of the in-form Dighton's onslaught and finished with 0-63 from four overs.

source - theage.com.au
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