Hodge Top Scores In Romp

Australia eased to victory over the Netherlands by 229 runs in Sunday's World Cup Group A match at Warner Park.

Brad Hodge's maiden one-day international hundred helped Australia to a 229-run victory over Holland in today's World Cup Group A match at Warner Park.
Hodge (123) and Michael Clarke (93 not out) shared a fourth-wicket stand of 204 in 28 overs as Australia racked up a near record 358 for five – a total which predictably proved far too much for their opponents.
The Dutch reply began encouragingly only to falter, with the first three wickets going down for the addition of just two runs – leaving the minnows once again resigned to little more than damage limitation.
Hodge and Clarke may find themselves vying for one middle-order place once Andrew Symonds returns from his bicep injury – and the former in particular did his claims no harm.
Neither managed the sort of utterly dominant innings many had been expecting from at least one Australian, but their well-paced efforts fitted the bill.
Hodge hit eight fours and seven sixes from 89 balls, while Clarke's statistics were slightly more studied – with six boundaries and three maximums from 85.
Holland did not help themselves with a series of missed catches – at least five, although none which reprieved any of Australia's major contributors early in his innings.
Luuk van Troost's team were looking at an alarming prospect as Adam Gilchrist (57) and Matthew Hayden crunched a succession of boundaries apparently at will in an opening stand of 73 in less than 12 overs – after Australia had chosen to bat first.
Hayden fell going for another power shot, caught at point off Tim de Leede – but it was after Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting both departed within the space of three balls that the idea of a telephone-number total had to be reassessed.
Gilchrist drilled one straight to mid-on off De Leede; then Ponting fell to an outstanding return catch as Ryan ten Doeschate got down low to collect a straight drive.
Clarke and Hodge therefore came together without a run between them and needed to exercise some caution.
Hodge was the one who first upped the ante on this small ground, clearing the ropes with increasing regularity after being dropped on 75 at long-on by Daan van Bunge.
He was bowled aiming a big hit to leg off Peter Borren, and the unfortunate Mike Hussey went cheaply – caught at long-on.
But Clarke stayed the course as 130 runs were added in the final 10 overs – leaving Australia just one run short of their highest Cup total.
Holland were unable to get competitive with the bat as the pace of Nathan Bracken, Shaun Tait and Glenn McGrath and know-how of Brad Hogg (four wickets for 27 runs) unpicked them.
Van Bunge made a name for himself in thankless circumstances as the first international bowler to be hit for six sixes in an over – by South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs – on his last visit to this ground two days ago.
But he had a little more to smile about this time, as the top-scorer in a Dutch innings which lasted only 26 overs but at least mustered enough substance to avoid defeat by a record Cup margin.