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Twenty20 party is a success

Just watching wide-eyed patrons struggle to find their seats at a sold-out Gabba was enough to mark tonight's historic Twenty20 party as an immediate success before it started.

Just watching wide-eyed patrons struggle to find their seats at a sold-out Gabba was enough to mark tonight's historic Twenty20 party as an immediate success before it started.

The fact they continually left them to cheer every four and six was icing on the cake for Australian cricket powerbrokers.

It was never going to be the number of boundaries struck by Ricky Ponting's Aussies in the Brisbane twilight that would dictate the international future of cricket's bite-sized fad.

Cricket Australia, desperate to keep their game the nation's No.1 summer sport at a time soccer is rising as a threat, wanted new fans at the game - and they got them.

First-time cricket spectators were littered throughout the Brisbane Cricket Ground, and they weren't hard to find.

Families, young women and new Australians - far more than you would ever see at a Test or one-dayer - could all be seen asking the way to ticket gates and then their seats.

Once seated in the capacity crowd, they cheered each big hit, South African dropped catch and wicket as Punter Ponting won the toss, batted and Australia belted 3-209.

But even a home-side collapse wouldn't have ruined the fun atmosphere as the controversial bash-and-crash game was supplemented with an off-field party.

Riffs and choruses of popular boot-tapping tracks blared at the end of each over and after each boundary and wicket.

Traffic gridlock at the sell-out hit and giggle event kept many from taking their seats until after the start.

If they had arrived early enough they would have witnessed cricketing sacrilege - breakdancers entertaining on the hallowed turf.

The purists would not be amused, especially with players sporting their nicknames on the back of their jerseys, but officials could hardly care less as newcomers were rapped by the on and off-field antics.

First-time fan, high school teacher Shona Liddy drove two hours from the Sunshine Coast to watch the three-hour slugfest and wasn't disappointed.

"The music and the crowd is awesome. I'm having so much fun," said Shona while watching from the lower northern stand. "The big hits are the best.

"It's taken my husband seven years of marriage to get me here.

"It's a nice short game to ease myself into the finer principles of the game.

"This would get me to come to a full one-day match, and I do like a bit of Glenn McGrath."

McGrath was missing tonight, rested for the upcoming tri-series, but 'Roy' (Andrew Symonds), 'Pup' (Michael Clarke), 'Mr Cricket' (Mike Hussey) and 'Catfish' (James Hopes) were all on hand to help out Punter.

Mid-innings television interviews with departing batsmen and the fielding captain were also innovations to suit home viewers lapping up the high-tempo product.

The only disappointment among fans was Australia's new gun-metal grey strip, the only drab downer on the most colourful night of the summer. Salve helices pariah inure paleoserology evangelistic?
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source - smh.com.au

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