Australia take out 1st ODI

The first officially recognised match between an international side and the rest of the world in over 30 years began with Australia winning the toss and electing to bat on a flat, slow drop-in pitch. Cameron White made his ODI debut as the super-sub, while Katich made the step up to the top of the order, and after a fiery first over from Shoaib, Australia settled in nicely. Katich seemed to struggle to come to terms with the pitch and gifted the strike to Gilchrist, who greeted Pollock with two boundaries in an over and picked up where he left off in the final ODI in England. Gilchrist and Katich saw the World XI openers out of the attack, and the much-discussed battle between Flintoff and Gilchrist from the Ashes resumed with a perfect delivery from Flintoff that cut away off the pitch and beat the edge. Gilchrist probably took the points on this occasion though, as Australia’s openers progressed the score past 50, and after Pollock elected to call for the second power-play after 10 overs, the run rate began to pick up rapidly. Several close calls for Australia came during an eventful Flintoff over, as Katich edged through the slips, and then Simon Taufel made first use of the new video umpire powers by calling for a replay on an appeal for a catch behind. It was turned down though, and Flintoff then suffered further frustration when he picked up a wicket off a no-ball.

It was a surprising candidate in Jacques Kallis who eventually got the breakthrough, when a gentle inswinger from around the wicket completely decieved Adam Gilchrist, who didn’t even get close to it and was bowled. Looking to push his momentary advantage, Pollock began the final power-play in the next over with the score on 1/83 after 15, but it proved disasterous as an unusually expensive Andrew Flintoff was dispatched by Katich and Ponting for 15 off the next over, with a trademark pull for six from Ponting finishing it. Kallis too suffered with the field up, as Simon Katich came into his own with his third boundary in two overs and the score moved past 100. Muralitharan entered the attack in the 18th over to a mixture of cheers and jeers from the crowd, and Katich was immediately almost run out, as Murali’s first over went for just the one run. The final power-play ended with Ponting lofting Muralitharan down the ground for a boundary, and Australia completed their first 20 overs at 1/118.

The World XI were in need of wickets to slow Australia’s progress, and they got them in quick succession soon after the field went back. Firstly Ponting was caught by Lara attempting a bizarre and somewhat unnecessary shot off Pollock, and then in the next over Muralitharan picked up Martyn for a duck as he was brilliantly caught by Vettori at mid-on after a mishit. The run-rate tapered off somewhat after the field went back, thanks in large part to some accurate bowling from Muralitharan, but Australia continued to build a strong platform for the late overs nevetheless. A brilliant piece of bowling brought about the fourth wicket to fall, when Muralitharan beat Simon Katich in flight and found a leading edge and took a sharp catch. Katich had made an excellent 58, but on the fall of his wicket Australia found themselves in trouble at 4/142. Shoaib Akhtar began things to Michael Clarke and nearly dismissed him from a miscued pull shot, but the pair survived to the 30 over mark with the score at 4/148. The introduction of Daniel Vettori to the attack and the free-falling run rate caused the next wicket, as Vettori held one back and decieved Michael Clarke, who sent an easy catch back to the bowler. Michael Hussey joined Andrew Symonds with the score at 5/154 and 18 overs remaining, with a par score of 250 looking a fair distance away.

Hussey and Symonds had been the stars of the Australian batting in the ODIs in England though, and here again they offered vital resistance, forging a crucial half-century stand to push Australia close to a defendable total. However, Daniel Vettori was bowling a remarkable spell of finger-spin, despite the overs dwindling away, and after Symonds smashed Muralitharan for six he went one time too many and holed out to Flintoff on the fence. Using brilliant deceptive changes of pace and flight on a pitch not offering a huge amount of turn, Vettori bowled one of the best spells of his career, continuing into the final 10 overs and bowling out with figures of 4/33. He picked up Watson and Huseey caught on opposite boundaries, but his wickets came primarily through his tight bowling frustrating the batsmen. Hussey played a useful innings though, and an explosive cameo from Brett Lee at the end of the innings pushed Australia up a par score of 255.

Australia were in need of a good start with the ball, and they were given it by the incomparable Glenn McGrath. McGrath bowled seven overs in his opening spell, conceded only 13 runs and took two wickets, and with metronomic accuracy and controlled swing he could easily have had more. Sehwag played an unlikely shot straight to Hussey at mid-wicket, and when Kallis was trapped in front by an inswinger the World XI were at 2/45 after a dozen overs. Things went from shaky to bad for the World team from there, as Nathan Bracken capped off a very good spell on his international return by having Lara caught, and when Lee returned for his second spell and removed Dravid and Watson followed it up by trapping Pietersen in front, a rout was on the cards. Even the score of 5/82 did not reflect the woes of the World XI though, as some shocking Australian fielding allowed many let-offs, with Watson, Katich and Lee all spilling chances. Sangakkara had been the stalwart of the innings, and when he was joined by Flintoff they mounted a mini-fightback, pushing the score past 100 and keeping hope alive. The 6th wicket would open the floodgates for the final time though, and when Sangakkara attempted to punish a slightly wide Watson delivery and hit it straight to Ponting, he was quickly followed by Afridi when he was trapped in front by Symonds and Pollock when Watson scored a spectacular direct hit from a long distance. Watson and Lee cleaned up the final wickets after another brief stand, and Australia scored a remarkable 93 run win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

The crucial second match is also at Telstra Stadium on Friday.

Score Summary

Australia 8/255 (50)
Simon Katich 58 (79), Adam Gilchrist 45 (48)
Daniel Vettori 4/33 (10), Muttiah Muralitharan 2/41 (10)

ICC World XI 162 (41.3)
Kumar Sangakkara 64 (94), Andrew Flintoff 38 (52)
Shane Watson 3/43 (10), Glenn McGrath 2/13 (7)

Australia win by 93 runs.
Australia lead the three match series 1-0.

CricketWeb Player of the Match
Daniel Vettori 15 (28) and 4/33 (10)

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