So what are we make of the Twenty20 game played at the SCG last night?
The first and most obvious point is that the Aussies have moved seamlessly into the bash and crash format of the game following their demolition of England during the Test series. If last night’s 77-run win is any guide, the Poms can expect another torrid time from the Australians in the one day series, set to start later this week.
Six of the top seven Australian batsmen from the fifth Test found themselves in the team for the abbreviated form of the abbreviated form of the game, with all bar Michael Clarke – who was run out in the chase for quick runs late in the innings – all contributing to the “world record” total of 221 for an international Twenty20 match.
Another point of interest was the huge crowd in attendance. More than 35,000 fans turned up for what is really a hit and giggle affair. Channel Nine played up the family aspect of the game, with Ian Healy venturing into the crowd for a hard-hitting Stephanie Brantz-type interview with some of the kids enjoying the Aussie run-fest.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the evening from an Australian cricket viewpoint was the form of two of the younger members of the team, Cameron White and Ben Hilfenhaus.
White’s belligerent knock of 40 from 20 balls featured four sixes, boding well for his prospects of scoring a berth in the World Cup squad. The mind boggles at what he might be able to do on the postage stamp-sized grounds in the Caribbean should he continue this sort of form in the 50 over game over the coming months.
Hilfenhaus was the other newcomer to shine, taking the important wickets of Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood in the early part of the innings. The Tasmanian quick was getting good, late outswing when the ball was ten overs old, and he will be another who might figure in the Australians’ World Cup plans.
Channel Nine should also be applauded for its coverage of the game. The decision to mic up Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist, although not a new innovation, offered something to the viewers at home, even if it did highlight the relative meaningless aspect of the match. You can say what you like about various commentators and other annoying aspects of Nine’s cricket coverage, the station does provide great support of the country’s number one summer sport, no doubt helping it maintain its place at the top of the heap.