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Aussies win 3rd successive World Cup

cricket Updated: Apr 29, 2007 13:12 IST
Highlight Story

Ricky Ponting's team created history on Saturday by winning the Cricket World Cup for the third consecutive time, and fourth overall. Winners in 1999, 2003 and 1987, Australia cruised to an easy win against Sri Lanka in the ninth edition of the tournament at Barbados in West Indies.

Man of the Match Adam Gilchrist's record-breaking innings powered his team to a momentous total of 282 runs in the stipulated 38 overs at the Kensington Oval. In reply, though the Sri Lankans showed grit and guts initially, the defending champions restricted them to 215 for eight in the rain-inflicted match.

Sri Lanka, champions in 1996, were set a revised target of 269 off 36 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis system after rain halted play for 12 minutes during their run chase.

Gilchrist and fellow left-hander Matthew Hayden's stand of 172 was a new first-wicket record for a World Cup final, surpassing the 129 shared by England's Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott during the West Indies' 92-run win at Lord's in 1979.

This was ace speedster Glenn McGrath's last match, his fourth successive World Cup outing. The 37-year-old bowler, who was declared the Man of the Tournament, could not have hoped for a better farewell.

Sri Lanka innings

Unlike holders Australia, the Lankans lost the first wicket early. In the first ball of the third over, Gilchrist caught the ball behind the stumps to dismiss Upul Tharanga off Nathan Bracken. The opener, who hit a four off the first delivery of the innings, returned to the pavilion for an insignificant score.

Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara maintained a 116-run stand as the latter completed his 40th ODI half-century in the 20th over. But, soon Brad Hogg despatched the wicketkeeper-batsmen for 54.

Michael Clarke scalped the key wicket of Jayasuriya under overcast skies. The ball, keeping very low, turned away from him and dashed into the off stump as the batsman walked back at 63 off 67 balls.

Shane Watson trapped the valuable wicket of skipper Mahela Jayawardene, and with it Lanka's hope of a 1996 redux became grim.

The next three overs cost Sri Lanka a wicket each, but by then, the winner was all but declared. In the 30th over, McGrath and Clarke effected the run out of Dilshan (14). Clarke despatched Chamara Silva in the next for 21. Arnold made his exit from the show, also his last international match, in the 32nd over off McGrath's bowling for a forgettable score.

After the last delivery of the 33rd over, with hopeless natural light, the Aussies made a huddle and started celebrating their still-unofficial-victory, only to the annoyance of the field umpires. Aleem Dar, even suggested that the teams come back on Sunday and complete the remaining three overs.

Jayawardene came to the field to talk to Bucknor and Bowden. The stands for the presentation ceremony had been brought in and packed off with equal speed. It was finally decided that the match would continue, despite abject darkness.

In the last ball of the 33rd over, Gilchrist stumped Malinga off Andrew Symonds's delivery. The decision was left to the third umpire, who took a considerable time before declaring the obvious.

Two overs and four runs later, two-time champions Australia were declared winners of the 2007 Cup.

Australia innings

Electing to bat, Australia were off to a good start as openers Gilchrist and Hayden compiled a 100-run partnership within 17 overs.

In the 21st over, Gilchrist struck a scintillating century off just 72 balls - the fastest in a World Cup final. It was his 15th ODI century which included thirteen boundaries and eight sixes.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene grabbed a catch at cover dismissing Hayden off Lasith Malinga's bowling. The batsman walked back for 38. Dilhara Fernando followed suit to uproot centurion Gilchrist after a splendid show with the bat. He hammered 149 off 104 before giving an easy catch to Chamara Silva at midwicket.

Ricky Ponting was run out in Andrew Symonds' attempt to take a run which was not there in the 36th over. The skipper hit 37 off 42 balls. Malinga struck back to remove Shane Watson in the next over for a paltry score.

After a rain-delayed toss, the World Cup final match between Sri Lanka and Australia was reduced by 12 overs due to heavy showers for over two hours.

The revised playing conditions meant that three bowlers would be permitted to bowl a maximum of eight overs each while two a maximum of seven.

Sri Lanka played in their second World Cup final following their win over Australia in 1996, 11 years ago.

Teams

Australia: Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist (wicketkeeper), Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Brad Hogg, Nathan Bracken, Shaun Tait, Glenn McGrath.

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), Mahela Jaywardene (captain), Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando.