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World goes down under

World XI lost by 156 runs, giving Aussies a 3-0 sweep in the limited-overs Super Series.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2005 00:51 IST

Brett Lee and Shane Watson took four wickets apiece as the World XI crumbled meekly for 137, losing by 156 runs on Sunday and giving Australia a 3-0 sweep in the limited-overs Super Series.

The two-time defending World Cup champion Australians, who won by 93 runs and 55 runs in the opening two matches, confirmed their status as No. 1 team in limited-overs cricket.

"It's some of the best one-day cricket played in a long time - no doubt about that," said Australia captain Ricky Ponting. "The way Shane (Watson) has come on has been fantastic, (Adam Gilchrist) has been awesome - it's been a really even contribution across the board.
"Our cricket has been first class."

Ponting won the toss and batted first for the third consecutive match, his Australians reaching 293 for five.

Michael Hussey scored 75 and Watson notched a run-a-ball 66 in an unbroken 145-run sixth-wicket partnership after Australia had lost three wickets for five runs to slip from 143-2 to 148-5.

Ponting said that partnership was the defining point in the game after spin bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan (2-38) and Daniel Vettori (1-34) had combined to check Australia's rapid start. The World's reply started badly when Lee bowled Chris Gayle (0) on the second ball.

After Glenn McGrath removed dangerman Kumar Sangakkara for 13, Lee removed Jacques Kallis (2) and Brian Lara (0) on consecutive balls to set up a hat-trick ball and have the World XI reeling at 27-4.

The dismissals extended a dissmal series for Lara, who scored five runs in three matches, and Kallis, who reached double figures only once.

England's Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff, returning after hospital scans ruled out serious injury to the wrist he injured in the field, blocked Lee's hat-trick ball.

Flintoff shared a 60-run fifth-wicket stand with Virender Sehwag, scoring 21 off 25 balls before he was bowled by Watson trying to lift the run rate.

That sparked the World XI's final slump. Watson, backing up his own bowling, ran out Sehwag (37) at the striker's end in a piece of individual brilliance.

He then had Shaun Pollock (8), Vettori (0) and Shahid Afridi (16) caught out to return 4-39 in 7.5 overs. Lee, who also dismissed Rahul Dravid, had 4-30 in nine overs.

Pollock put the lackluster performance down to Sunday's match being a dead rubber.

"There's always the danger when you're down 2-0 in a three match series that it can go like this," he said. "I'm not angry, I'm just very disappointed.

"Australia batted very well. We knew we had to go out with all guns blazing to get a good start, but Lee bowled superbly and knocked us out of it."

Pollock said Flintoff had serious bruising to his right wrist, but should be fit for the six-day Super Test starting Friday in Sydney.

The big allrounder damaged his right wrist when he dropped a sharp return catch in the 18th over from Ponting. Ponting, on 41 at that stage, made 68 runs.

Pollock said the World XI would be stronger in the Test match, and he predicted Lara would hit some form in the longer version of cricket. The West Indies batsman hadn't played international cricket for months and looked rusty in the one-dayers, without having time to settle in.

Gilchrist, who plundered 32 off 31 balls to give Australia its third positive start of the series, was voted player of the series after a series after scoring 180 runs in a devastating strike-rate. The new umpiring rules on trial in the Super Series got a good workout Sunday, with TV umpire Simon Taufel adjudicating on the first two dismissals on referral from field umpire Aleem Dar. Damien Martyn (32) was the first batsmen given out in an lbw decision referred to the TV umpire.

Martyn had survived two referred decisions _ on 4 on 32 _ but ran out of luck when Dar asked Taufel to review TV replays and adjudicate on an lbw shout from Daniel Vettori.

Hussey also made a cricket first under the rules that allow on-field umpires to refer all close calls to the third official. He was on 65 in the 48th over when he smashed Makhaya Ntini to Shahid Afridi at long-on and Dar asked Taufel to check if the South African fast bowler had overstepped the popping crease. Taufel ruled it was a no-ball and Hussey was not out.

In Ntini's next over, the last, Hussey slogged a slower ball into the roof at the indoor Dockland's stadium _ the first time that had happened in a cricket match at the venue _ resulting in a dead-ball and no run.

Overlooked for the first two matches, Ntini replaced Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar on Sunday and had Michael Clarke (3) adjudged lbw with his fourth ball. He finished with 1-58.

For Australia, opener Simon Katich was ruled out Sunday with a groin strain, but he was expected back for the Test. Both teams travel Monday to Sydney, where South Africa captain Graeme Smith will take over captaincy of the World XI.

First Published: Oct 10, 2005 00:51 IST