Win will complete McGrath's career
McGrath, 37, who heads Australia is all set to get going against the Sri Lankan side in the World Cup final to take place today.cricket Updated: Apr 28, 2007 19:50 IST
Glenn McGrath returns on Saturday to the ground where he came of age as an international cricketer for the final act in the 2007 World Cup and the last match of his career.
McGrath, 37, who has taken a record 70 World Cup wickets, heads the Australia pace attack against a Sri Lanka side containing a 23-year-old fast bowler with his best days still to come.
Lasith Malinga with his unique slingshot action bowled lethally fast against New Zealand in the semi-finals on his return from an ankle injury.
His performance was noted by Australia's senior batsmen Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden, who on Friday paid him the compliment of batting against a bowling machine replicating the Sri Lankan's pace.
"The wicket looks particularly good, nice and even and very hard at the moment," captain Ponting told a news conference.
"If we get a bit more sun and a bit more wind on it today I expect it to be very, very hard in the morning, a very good true surface with a bit of pace and bounce."
Slow, low pitches penalising the pace bowlers while also making life hard for the stroke-makers have been a feature of the tournament. Barbados has been an exception and a fast pitch in the old Kensington Oval traditions will be welcomed by both sides.
The weather may also play a part. The ground was drenched by a short, sharp shower yesterday morning and further outbreaks are scheduled for Saturday.
McGrath took five wickets in an innings for the first time in the opening test at Kensington Oval in the 1995 series when Australia succeeded West Indies as unofficial world champions.
"To me, the perfect way to finish would be to take another five-for, win, walk off and happy days," he said on Friday.
Despite Australia's 28-match unbeaten record in the tournament dating back to 1999 and the manner of their victories, Sri Lanka have by common consent the better balanced attack and every intention of repeating their 1996 World Cup victory over the same opponents.
"They are a good side, everyone knows that, we know that. But they are all human," said captain Mahela Jayawardene.
"They will come hard at you, especially in a final. We are quite capable of handling that."
The final on Barbados's National Heroes Day comes at the end of a seven-week tournament, criticised for being too-long and too-expensive, staged in eight West Indies' nations.
Cricket World Cup commercial director Stephen Price said in a statement tickets were still available at the refurbished stadium which has additional seating designed to hold 28,000 spectators.
Former West Indies captain Garfield Sobers, who declared the tournament open in Jamaica on March 11, will be honoured at the closing ceremony.