|Ground:||Docklands Stadium, Melbourne|
|Scorecard:||Australia v ICC World XI|
|Event:||Johnnie Walker Super Series 2005/06|
Australia, driven to atone for last month's Ashes failure in England, crushed the cream of world cricket to claim the opening Super Series one-dayer by 93 runs at Docklands stadium here Wednesday.
Criticised relentlessly since their return from the Ashes tour, the determined Australians sought redemption, compiling a competitive 255 for eight off their 50 overs and then running through the World XI for 162 in 41.3 overs.
The World Cup champions were back to their upbeat best, with the bowlers hitting the pitch hard and the fielders buzzing about with purpose, although two outfield catches were put down.
Only Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara rose to meet the challenge, clubbing 64 off 96 balls in opening the innings. England's Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff contributed 38 off 52 balls after being dropped in a sitter by Brett Lee on five.
All-rounder Shane Watson claimed 3-43 off 10 overs, Glenn McGrath had 2-13 off seven overs and Brett Lee 2-31 off 7.3 overs.
The rousing victory set up Australia for a crack at the series in Friday's second game with the Rest of the World team having plenty to do to keep the series alive.
The world team crumbled to 50 for three in the 13th over with McGrath snaring the wickets of Virender Sehwag (6 off 10 balls) and Jacques Kallisoff 23 balls) and left-armer Nathan Bracken getting the big wicket of Brian Lara for a duck.
Kallis clipped McGrath for his only boundary but the veteran Australian spearhead trapped him leg before wicket next ball.
Sangakkara was dropped by Simon Katich on 31, a two-handed chance running back in the deep before Bracken snared Lara for a two-ball duck in the same over.
Lee cramped up Rahul Dravid with a short-pitched delivery and offered an easy catch to Ricky Ponting in the covers for four off 14 balls, leaving the world all-stars in disarray at 75 for four in the 19th over.
England's Kevin Pietersen, booed to the crease by sections of the 18,435 crowd, only scored two off six balls before being caught leg before wicket to Watson to have the world team lurching at 82 for five in the 22nd over.
Sangakkara's daring innings ended to a sharp, low catch by Ponting at backward point off Watson, leaving the world combination at 101 for six in the 28th over.
Shahid Afridi, who came on as a super sub for Muttiah Muralitharan, went lbw to Symonds for two and skipper Shaun Pollock was run out for five by a direct throw from backward square by Watson as he went for a second run.
Flintoff's defiance ended on 38 when he holed out to McGrath running in from the ropes to give Watson his third wicket. Flintoff hit a six and two fours in his 52-ball knock.
It was all over when Vettori hit to Ponting backward of the wicket to be out for 15 with 8.3 overs left in the innings.
Australia earlier rallied to score 255 for eight off their 50 overs after spinners Vettori and Muralitharan had triggered a middle-order batting collapse.
Australia got off to a rollicking 80-run opening partnership between Adam Gilchrist (45) and Katich (58), but ran out of steam.
Muralitharan captured 2-41 off 10 overs and Vettori claimed 4-33 off 10 overs to have Australia struggling to reach a competitive 250-run target.
The hosts had slumped to 154 for 5 before Andrew Symonds (36) and Michael Hussey (32) steadied the ship with 52 runs for the sixth wicket.
Big hitting from Lee, with an unbeaten 26 off 17 balls, helped add 24 runs in the last two overs with Flintoff going for 12 runs in his last over and finishing wicket-less for 66 off nine overs.
There were few referrals to the video umpire Rudi Koertzen under the International Cricket Council's experimental playing conditions format in which field umpires will be able to refer all decisions, including LBWs and edged catches, to the television (or third) umpire.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)