January 23, 2003

England routed for 117

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SYDNEY, Jan 23 AAP - Australia's blond bombers sent England to an inglorious total of 117 in the first tri series final at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.

Brett Lee led the charge by taking three for 29 off 10 quick overs, claiming England's dangerous openers inside 15 balls to set up the rout.

Andy Bichel got of the rid of the tail to finish with 4-18 off seven overs while Brad Williams (2-22) and the original bottle blond Shane Warne (1-28) completed the damage.

Adam Gilchrist effected six dismissals - five catches and a stumping.

The highlight for Australia was Warne's return to the international arena with a confidence-boosting performance.

Warne took a wicket with the last ball of his ten overs and looked comfortable in his first international appearance since dislocating his shoulder on December 15.

He misfielded a couple of balls and, on one occasion, rather than replicate the sideways dive which led to his injury, he let the ball sail past just out of reach.

Another time he preferred to clumsily use his feet rather than get down low.

His wicket-taking ball was a ripped legspinner which beat Paul Collingwood in the air and off the pitch and he was stumped by Adam Gilchrist for 43.

Lee had two wickets inside 15 balls, when both Marcus Trescothick (0) and Nick Knight (5) gloved catches to Adam Gilchrist.

Williams got rid of Nasser Hussain (1) when the England captain played on and then had Alec Stewart (12) caught behind.

Bichel struck twice in one over, trapping Michael Vaughan (21) lbw and then having Ian Blackwell (0) caught by Ricky Ponting at second slip.

Lee returned to dismiss Ronnie Irani (10) off a miscue.

Collingwood was single-handedly responsible for getting England to three figures.

His 43 came of 71 balls and took nearly two hours but he made sure England avoided the ignominy of being bowled out for less than 100 for the fifth time in its history.