Hodge shines in All-Star outing
Aussie Fans' XI 8 for 191 (Hussey 42, Hayden 34, O'Brien 3-26) beat ACA All-Stars 5 for 186 (Hodge 84, Warner 43) by 5 runs
Brad Hodge used a rare prime-time TV appearance to remind the wider Australian public of his talent, but his 84 from 50 balls was not enough for the ACA All-Stars against a fan-voted XI at the Gabba. Matthew Hayden came out of his semi-retirement to captain the Aussie Fans' XI to victory in a match that also featured the West Indian Twenty20 star Kieron Pollard.
The exhibition match has been put on for the past couple of years by the Australian Cricketers' Association as a curtain-raiser to the home summer, but lost some of its impetus this season as the Australians have already hosted Sri Lanka for an ODI series. There were several domestic players still keen to impress, although the strongest performances came from the veterans.
David Hussey (42) set up a strong total of 8 for 191 for the Aussie Fans' XI, after Hayden managed 34 using the oddly-proportioned Mongoose bat. The young Victorian batsman Aaron Finch showed his promise with a quick 30 and Mitchell Marsh made 23, while the left-arm spin of Aaron O'Brien (3 for 26) was difficult to get away.
In reply, the ACA All-Stars - the domestic players voted for the team members after last season's Big Bash - fell five runs short despite the best efforts of Hodge. His innings featured four sixes and reminded the national selectors - if they needed any further proof - that he remains one of the most dangerous limited-overs players in Australia.
David Warner also made a handy 43 from 33 balls, but when Hodge fell towards the end of the chase it left 20 needed from the final over. In the interests of a close finish, Hayden decided to bowl the over himself and with six needed from the final ball, he had Lee Carseldine caught on the long-on boundary by Finch.
However, the match did come at a cost. Tim Paine, Australia's backup wicketkeeper, was sent to hospital after being struck on the right hand by a delivery from Dirk Nannes, and the Australian and Tasmanian selectors will be closely monitoring his injury with a big summer ahead.