|Luke Pomersbach of Australia hits out during his debut
after a last minute call up [GALLO/GETTY]
Andrew Symonds smashed an unbeaten 85 to lead Australia to a comfortable 54-run win over New Zealand in their Twenty20 international in Perth.
Symonds bludgeoned three sixes and seven boundaries in a spectacular 46-ball innings to help Australia post a daunting total of 186 for six from their 20 overs.
New Zealand failed to mount a serious challenge, collapsing to be all out for 132 in the 19th over after their batsmen crumbled against the ferocious Australian pace attack.
Jacob Oram was the only player to offer any sustained resistance, smacking six sixes in an unbeaten 66 to prop up the innings.
Scott Styris (18) and Brendon McCullum (13) were the only other players to reach double-figures while debutant Ashley Noffke was the pick of the Australian bowlers, capturing three wickets for 18 runs.
‘A solid effort’
Symonds was named man of the match but suffered an injury scare while fielding when he hurt the same ankle that forced him to miss most of last month’s second test against Sri Lanka.
“I was very proud of our blokes, I thought we played a really good game of Twenty20 tonight. It was a real solid effort,” Symonds said.
Australia made a nervous start when opener Adam Gilchrist was dismissed for one but were quickly into their stride, despite missing regular captain Ricky Ponting and fielding three debutants.
Which included an extraordinary international debut for West Australian Luke Pomersbach.
The drama began when Brad Hodge injured his back in the dressing room 90 minutes before the start, prompting a frantic phone call to Pomersbach from team manager Steve Bernard.
The fact the big-hitting 23-year-old is still suspended from state cricket because of a late-night drinking session last month only added to the intrigue, with his arrival as a prospective spectator greeted with the news he was to become an Australian player.
“I thought it was one of my mates having a joke,” said Pomersbach who scored 15 runs, including a six.
“He said, ‘No, mate, get yourself to the rooms as quick as you can’. I don’t think I even locked my car.”
Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke made a classy 33 off 26 balls and Adam Voges chipped in with a brisk 26 off 20 deliveries before Symonds started to wreak havoc on the New Zealand bowlers to push the Australian total past 180.
The Kiwis made a terrible start to their reply when opener Lou Vincent was caught behind off Lee from the first ball of the innings.
Styris and How briefly steadied the innings but their dismissals triggered a devastating middle-order collapse.
The Kiwis slumped to 69-8 in the 14th over before Oram mounted his own rearguard action to help his side reach a respectable total when he ran out of partners.
“Jacob played exceptionally well,” New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said.
“He gave himself the chance to get in and then he unleashed the power that he has and when you start hitting bowlers have for six it shows how good he is.”