Network wins night with cricket match

James Packer’s Nine Network won the first night of the ratings year Down Under on Sunday with an intermittently rain-delayed one-day cricket match between England and Australia.

The win, ahead of a fiercely competitive week, is a boon for Nine, the traditional leader of the Oz market that in recent years has been less profitable than Kerry Stokes’ challenger Seven.

Seven and Nine each won three weeks of the pre-sweeps six-week lead-in with telecasts of the Australian Tennis Open, new gameshows “The Rich List” and “1 vs. 100,” the season opener for “Desperate Housewives” and the final doc from crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.

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