Warne and MacGill demolish World XI
Stuart MacGill scalped three wickets in five balls, finishing with fantastic match figures of 9 for 82, as Australia steamrolled the World XI by 210 runs to win the Super Test at the SCG. The decisive blows, though, had been landed by Shane Warne in the morning, with Rahul Dravid and Brian Lara - who added 49 for the third wicket - both flummoxed by his guile and variety on a helpful pitch.
Jacques Kallis stood resolute throughout the carnage with a classy unbeaten 39, but the fact that the World XI managed to last a combined total of 97.1 overs in the match spoke volumes about the abject poverty of their performance, and also of how keyed up Australia were after surrendering the Ashes.
For almost an hour after play resumed, 45 minutes behind schedule, the World XI dared to dream, with Lara crashing some gorgeous shots through the off side off Brett Lee and Dravid resolute in the face of some sharp fast bowling. Under a clear but dull sky, Glenn McGrath had a couple of appeals turned down, and with Lara flashing his bat to pick up fours in the arc between gully and extra-cover, the daunting target was slowly whittled down.
Enter Warne. Dravid was undone by drift and sharp turn, while Lara's fluent effort was ended by one that reared up sharply. Suddenly, the run chase was in tatters, and that feeling was merely reinforced when Inzamam-ul-Haq was unlucky to be given out after Lee speared an express delivery onto his pads.
Kallis showed a refreshingly positive attitude against Warne, and with Flintoff also in typically belligerent mood, 43 were added in quick time before lunch. Australia, though, wouldn't have lost their appetite, knowing that a special ball or two was all that stood between them and a demolition job done to perfection.
And it was MacGill, the less-celebrated of the spin duo, who feasted on the scraps. Flintoff launched one into orbit, but without the velocity needed to clear these huge Australian boundaries, and when Hayden took a blinder at slip off Mark Boucher to give Warne his sixth wicket of the match, the fat lady prepared for a last aria.
MacGill ensured that the last shrill notes would be mercifully short and sweet, with a superb Ponting catch the precursor to Stephen Harmison and Muttiah Muralitharan showing the World exactly why they're considered bunnies with the bat. Between them, MacGill - who now has 49 wickets from seven Tests here at 23.71 - and Warne had winkled out 15, and made the best of the rest look like bumbling amateurs after Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist had re-emphasised one of sport's great truisms - class is permanent. Australia, in this mood, are still different class.
Rahul Dravid c Hayden b Warne 23 (56 for 3)
A sharp-turning legbreak that drifted in and took the outside edge, even as Dravid did his very best to keep it down.
Brian Lara c Gilchrist b Warne 36 (69 for 4)
Another ripping legbreak that turned and bounced to take the inside edge even as Lara shaped to play a forcing stroke. Taken at the second attempt.
Inzamam-ul-Haq lbw Lee 0 (70 for 5)
A blistering quick delivery (154 kmph) that thudded into Inzi's pads, and might just have missed the leg stump. Rudi Koertzen didn't bother with the referral.
Andrew Flintoff c sub (Hodge) b MacGill 15 (122 for 6)
Tossed up, and smashed straight to the fielder at deep square leg.
Mark Boucher c Hayden b Warne 17 (143 for 7)
Sharp turn and bounce, squaring up Boucher who edges to slip. Brilliant reflex catch by Hayden.
Daniel Vettori c Ponting b MacGill 0 (144 for 8)
Fine catch high to his left at silly point after the ball went off pad and bat.
Stephen Harmison lbw MacGill 0 (144 for 9)
Trapped plumb in front by the wrong `un.
Muttiah Muralitharan stumped Gilchrist b MacGill 0 (144 all out)
Saunters down the track and attempts the big swat. Missed by a mile, and Gilchrist brings the curtain down.
Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo