Australia amble to 95-run victory
Australia 3 for 209 (Martyn 96, Symonds 54) beat South Africa 114 by 95 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
Australia completely dominated their first home Twenty20 international against South Africa, with superb batting, dynamic fielding and brilliant catching. South Africa, who were never realistically in the game, fell 95 runs short in what was an utterly convincing and breathless performance by the hosts.
In front of a record crowd of 38,894 at The Gabba, the most for any sporting event at the ground, the home fans were treated to an electrifying performance from Australia, with all three facets of their game seemingly in perfect order for the upcoming one-day series. Batting first, on a deliciously flat pitch, they romped along. Damien Martyn - so often a calm, controlled batsman, combined his usual elegance with a flurry of belligerent shots; cutting deftly, pulling powerfully and launching five huge sixes into a raucous crowd.
While Martyn was making hay, South Africa let themselves down woefully in the field, dropping crucial chances at vital times. After Ricky Ponting's murderous cameo of 27, which included two huge sixes, in came Andrew Symonds and mayhem ensued. Few can match Symonds for his power, or dare-devil attitude - or indeed his brilliance - as he battered South Africa's bowlers all over Brisbane. With Martyn falling just four short of a superb hundred, the final over really demonstrated Symonds' style: smashing Monde Zondeki for six over long-on, a glorious four over cover followed by another straight six. It was vicious, brutal batting.
South Africa's chase of 210 was always likely to be a tall order, but not an impossible one. However, their fate was sealed quickly by a rampant Australia who snaffled three wickets in the first five overs. Graeme Smith batted with his usual dogmatic force, punching three boundaries, and Mark Boucher threatened briefly with 29 from 21 balls. Both were to fall, and not so much due to tight bowling as outrageously slick fielding and catching.
Mick Lewis took a superb, full-length catch in the deep to dismiss Shaun Pollock who had threatened to make a fist of the ever-increasing run-rate. Then, he who can do no wrong at the moment - Ponting - shied at one stump to run out Jacques Kallis for 15. It was dazzling cricket, and South Africa's tail folded limply
While South Africa fumbled catches and missed run outs in their fielding effort, Australia were positively gazelle-like in theirs. A crushing, powerful batting display - aptly demonstrating that they have all bases covered - and efficient, glossy fielding. What more could the home crowd want?
Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo