A fast bowling blitz saw Australia thrash New Zealand by 54 runs in a Twenty20 international at the WACA Ground here Tuesday.
The home side made 186 for six from its 20 overs, led by an unbeaten 85 from powerful all-rounder Andrew Symonds, and the Black Caps managed just 132 in reply in front of 17,344 spectators.
Although Twenty20 is viewed as a batsman's game, the Australian pace attack derailed New Zealand's run chase from the start with some extremely hostile bowling in another tough match for new Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori.
On a lively wicket, Brett Lee (17-2) claimed the wicket of dangerous opener Lou Vincent from the first ball of the innings, the Kiwi batsman getting a top edge to a rising ball and skying it to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
Lee then dismissed Brendon McCullum, who had survived a close third umpire run out decision and audaciously slashed the Australian quick over point for six in his previous over, in similar fashion, caught behind from a leading edge for 13.
Fellow tearaway Shaun Tait (22-2) was brought into the attack and claimed a wicket with his first ball, Jamie How (4) gloving a bouncer through to Gilchrist, who pulled in a stunning catch.
Gilchrist leapt high to get a hand to the ball, and then wheeled around and dived full length to snare the ball in one hand.
The first three New Zealand wickets had all fallen to express, rising deliveries.
Three deliveries later, Tait removed Ross Taylor for a duck off an inside edge.
When Gilchrist took his fourth catch to remove Mathew Sinclair for a duck, the third of the innings, and give Mitchell Johnson (19-2) his first wicket, the Black Caps were 31 for five and the game was as good as over as a contest.
Another quick, Ashley Noffke, celebrated his promotion with 18-3.
Kiwi all-rounder Jacob Oram restored some respectability and gave another reminder of his hitting ability with an unbeaten 66 from 31 balls, hitting five sixes in eight balls from the spin of Symonds.
Australia's imposing total was built around a typically brutal knock from Andrew Symonds, who faced just 46 balls, hitting seven fours and three sixes.
Australia was not in great shape at 73 for three after 10 overs, but Symonds teamed with rookie Adam Voges (26) for an 80-run stand that accelerated the innings.
Michael Clarke, captaining the Australian side for the first time, opened the batting with Adam Gilchrist and made 33 from 26 balls.
Gilchrist could scarcely believe his misfortune when he slashed at a wide ball from Mark Gillespie in the second over and hit it sweetly, only for Ross Taylor to take a freakish one-handed catch to his left at gully.
Unlucky Australian batsman Brad Hodge was a late omission from the side, when he hurt his back just an hour before the game.
He was replaced by hard-hitting local youngster Luke Pomersbach, who was walking into the ground to view the match as a spectator when he got the surprise call-up.
Pomersbach's international debut came with the 23-year-old still suspended from first-class cricket by his state side, Western Australia, for disciplinary reasons.
He made 15 from seven balls, clubbing the third delivery he faced, from Gillespie, over mid-wicket for six.
A. Gilchrist c Patel b Gillespie 1 M. Clarke c Taylor b Vettori 33 M. Hussey st McCullum b Patel 22 A. Symonds not out 85 A. Voges c Taylor b Patel 26 L. Pomersbach c Taylor b Gillespie 15 A. Noffke run out (Patel) 0 B. Lee not out 0 Extras (lb 2, w 1, nb 1) 4 Total (6 wickets) 186
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Gilchrist), 2-51 (Hussey), 3-71 (Clarke), 4-151 (Voges), 5-183 (Pomersbach), 6-184 (Noffke).
Bowling: Mills 4-0-35-0 (1w) Gillespie 4-1-39-2 (1nb) Oram 3-0-32-0 Patel 4-0-40-2 Vettori 4-0-24-1 Styris 1-0-14-0
New Zealand innings
|L. Vincent||c Gilchrist b Lee||0|
|B. McCullum||c Gilchrist b Lee||13|
|J. How||c Gilchrist b Tait||4|
|S. Styris||c Bracken b Johnson||18|
|R. Taylor||b Tait||0|
|M. Sinclair||c Gilchrist b Johnson||0|
|J. Oram||not out||66|
|D. Vettori||b Noffke||3|
|K. Mills||c Johnson b Noffke||4|
|M. Gillespie||run out (Symonds)||4|
|J. Patel||b Noffke||4|
|Extras||(b 4, lb 5, w 6, nb 1)||16|
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Vincent), 2-21 (McCullum), 3-29 (How), 4-30 (Taylor), 5-31 (Sinclair), 6-49 (Styris), 7-59 (Vettori), 8-69 (Mills), 9-104 (Gillespie), 10-132 (Patel).
|Bowling:||Lee||4-0-17-2 (1w 1nb)|
|Bracken||2-0- 8-0 (2w)|
Australia won by 54 runs.