Putting the past behind

AUSTRALIA rebounded from last month's 2-1 Ashes series defeat to England with a 93-run win over the World XI in the first of three limited-overs internationals.

Shane Watson took three wickets and made a crucial run-out as Australia — the No. 1-ranked team in Test and limited-overs — dismissed a team comprising the world's leading cricketers for 162 in 41.3 overs in reply to 255 for eight.

It was a convincing win in front of a meagre crowd of 18,435 at Melbourne's Docklands Stadium.

``It's satisfying, yeah. I've said all along I still think we're the best cricket team in the world,'' said Australia skipper Ricky Ponting. ``We don't really care who we come up against — if we look after our game and do every thing right, we'll be competitive against any team.''

Ponting said Australia had a point to prove on home soil after the criticism that flowed following its first Ashes series defeat in 18 years.

``Everyone was up for the challenge. We've all copped a bit about the way the team performed in England — some was fair, some was unfair,'' Ponting said. ``This is the first chance we've had to get back out and show everybody how good a cricket team we are.

``We came up against a really good team here and we outplayed them pretty comprehensively — I'm really proud of the way the guys approached this game.''

The Super Series has full status with the International Cricket Council, meaning each match counts as a national cap and all statistics are counted toward career totals. ``The guys are proud cricketers. They're definitely hurting,'' said World XI captain Shaun Pollock.

Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara was the only top-order batsman to reach double figures, surviving a dropped catch on 31 before he was out for 64.

The batting, ``was very disappointing. We spent a lot of time discussing responsibility and roles and we didn't manage to get it right at all,'' Pollock said.

Australia started aggressively, with openers Simon Katich (58) and Adam Gilchrist (45) putting on 80 in 88 balls.

Ricky Ponting (23) was out to a rash shot off Pollock, triggering a slide as Australia lost 4-26 in 60 balls after reaching 128 for one.

Spin bowlers Daniel Vettori (4-33) of New Zealand and Muttiah Muralitharan (2-41) of Sri Lanka combined to check the run-rate before a late flourish by the Australian middle and lower order.

Australia's pace spearhead Glenn McGrath was economical and effective early in the World XI innings, having freewheeling Virender Sehwag (6) caught by Michael Hussey and then trapping Jacques Kallis (8) lbw to collect 2-13 in his opening seven-over spell.

Nathan Bracken was unlucky not to claim his first wicket when Katich dropped Sangakkara on 31 in the 13th over.

But Bracken gladly sacrificed that wicket to remove Brian Lara two balls later, having the West Indies dangerman caught at cover by Andrew Symonds before he'd scored.

Watson accounted for England Ashes stars Andrew Flintoff (38) and Kevin Pietersen (2), and leading scorer Sangakkara.

He also ran out Pollock (5) with a direct hit as he ran in from deep fine leg.

Watson had Pietersen — who scored a hundred and was man of the match in the last Test against Australia at the Oval last month — adjudged lbw for two.

In his last over, Watson had Flintoff — voted player of the series in the 2-1 Ashes win over Australia — caught in the deep. He finished with 3-43.

The scores Melbourne, October 5

Australia 255 for eight in 50 overs (Adam Gilchrist 45, Simon Katich 58, Andrew Symonds 36, Mike Hussey 32, Brett Lee 26 not out, Daniel Vettori four for 33) beat World XI 162 in 41.3 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 64, Andy Flintoff 38, Shane Watson three for 43). Shahid Afridi came on as a super sub for Muttiah Muralitharan.

Man of the match: Shane Watson (Australia).