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'There's a gulf between us and the rest'

The Australian team captain Ricky Ponting says Aussies played unbelievable cricket all through the World Cup.

cricket Updated: Apr 29, 2007 11:35 IST

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said his team's fourth World Cup triumph and third on the trot showed the chasm between the four-time champions and the rest of the cricketing teams.

"We played unbelievable cricket all through and did not have a close game in the competition," Ponting said after the side's 53-run win over Sri Lanka in the final in Barbados on Saturday.

"We are never happy and satisfied with our performance and levels and continue to challenge ourselves to improve.

"Winning it for a third straight time is an amazing feeling. Playing with this group of players is very special."

His opposite number Mahela Jayawardene acknowledged Australia's supremacy and said Adam Gilchrist's innings of 149 in just 104 balls made the difference.

"It was a special innings and so brilliant that it took the game away from us," the Sri Lankan skipper said.

"We chased quite well and were in a very good position at one time but could not keep up with the asking rate.

"They (Australia) were too good for us today."

Glenn McGrath had a fairytale end to his international career. He was adjudged the Player of the Tournament with 26 wickets, which was the highest tally in a single World Cup, and his overall count of 70 scalps made him the leading wicket-taker in the history of the competition.

"I am happy with the way things went. I couldn't have hoped for more and had great fun," he said.

McGrath also pointed out that the Australian team was in strong shape despite his exit from the scene.

"It is good to see the young guys coming through in the team."

He played in four World Cups and said the Australian team improved in each successive edition.

"Each time we took it to another level. In 1996, we reached the final and lost. In 1999, we won and in 2003, we won every match. This time, we won each match convincingly," the retiring paceman said.

Man of the match Gilchrist said it was a "satisfying finish to a great campaign for the Australians."

"I am thrilled. The feeling is unbelievable," he said.

Referring to his awesome knock in the final, he said "it was frustrating that I was getting out in the 30s and 40s. It had been quite a while since I got a one-day hundred but the confidence and the support of my team-mates kept me going."

Lauding his opening partner Matthew Hayden, the topscorer in the tournament with 659 runs, Gilchrist said "Matty has been fantastic and he gave me great support today.

"We gave good starts to the team and the strength in our batting took it from there," he said.

He also paid tributes to McGrath and coach John Buchanan, who is stepping down after the World Cup.

"Glenn deserves all the accolades that come his way... Our coach is a legend," the wicketkeeper-batsman added.

First Published: Apr 29, 2007 11:25 IST