By Ross Stapleton

Start spreading the news – it
might only be very early days but England really will serve up a competitive
Ashes feast in the UK this summer if this morning’s spanking of Australia at
Hampshire’s Rose Bowl is anything to go by. The inaugural England v
Australia Twenty20 game saw England win the toss and bat first, and eventually
score a highly respectable 8-179. But then our batsmen imploded and lost all 10
wickets for just 79 in only 13.4 overs, to lose by exactly 100 runs.

Sure it was only a hit and giggle
warm-up for the upcoming ODI’s against England and Bangladesh before the main
course of The Ashes, but trying telling the rest of the country.

While Glenn McGrath (3-31) was his usual impressive self as the
runs flowed freely, it was England that grabbed the initiative mainly thanks to
the much touted and highly impressive man of the match Kevin Pietersen (34 from
18 balls). Part-time
spinners Andrew Symonds (2-14) and Michael Clarke (1-25) took vital
wickets and partially applied the screws in the middle section, England
came back well late in the innings to wrest the advantage, although in
this exaggerated form of cricket nine an over hardly seemed
unattainable for our powerful top order.

But the England attack, led by a rejuvenated Darren
Gough with 3-14, including dismissing openers Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden
with consecutive balls, and John Lewis 4-24, turned the match on its ear as our
batsmen came and went with alarming regularity. When was the last
time Australia in any form of cricket gave up its first five wickets for just
one run after the first wicket fell at 23, and ended up losing 7-8 to be 7-31?

Winning captain Michael Vaughan
lasted only one ball himself, and isn’t getting carried away by his side drawing
first blood: “It is a bit of a lottery –
you need luck and we got it and the crowd was great, but I don’t think it will
have any impact on the five-day format.” Ricky Ponting, who lasted only two more balls than Vaughan for
his own duck, was the first to admit his team had been thoroughly outplayed and
showed just how rusty it was by even being out-fielded.

You can see the full scorecard
here at BBC sport online.