Alexa

Gilchrist launches Australia's final against Sri Lanka with a century

Gilchrist launches Australia's final against Sri Lanka with a century

Adam Gilchrist took a while to hit form at this World Cup and he timed it just right.
The 35-year-old wicketkeeper was having a solid tournament behind the stumps but had failed to live up to his usual high standards with the bat.
He clearly hadn't lost his touch. He smashed the fastest and biggest ever century in a World Cup final on Saturday to lead Australia to a 53-run victory over Sri Lanka.
The lefthander hit 149 in Australia's 281 for four off 38 overs in a rain-hit match at Kensington Oval to score his first World Cup century. He reached it in 72 balls, 10 balls faster than Clive Lloyd's hundred in the 1975 final against Australia at Lord's.
He also beat Ricky Ponting's 140 not out against India in 2003, the previous highest in a final, and was named man of the match.
"It's a really satisfying day and a satisfying finish to an amazing tournament," Gilchrist said as Australia became the first team to win the title for the third time in a row.
"The big difference today was Adam Gilchrist," said captain Ricky Ponting, who picked up a third straight winner's medal alongside Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath. "What a fantastic knock."
Gilchrist took to the field in Bridgetown alongside Matthew Hayden after rain delayed the start by almost three hours and immediately set about the Sri Lanka attack.
On a true batting pitch at Kensington Oval that offered little assistance to the bowlers, Gilchrist hit a flurry of boundaries to take his team to victory.
He came just short of matching Hayden's record fastest century set earlier in the competition, taking 72 balls to Hayden's 66.
He eventually holed out to Dilhara Fernando for 149 as he led Australia to 281-4. That would be a healthy total in any match, but this was off 38 overs rather than the regulation 50 because of the rain delay.
With Gilchrist mauling the attack and scoring at more than a run a ball early on, Sri Lanka explored almost all its bowling options in the first 13 overs.
With pace bowler Lasith Malinga in form, Gilchrist targeted Chaminda Vaas. With little swing about, his first three overs went for 24 runs and he was replaced by Fernando, who had been retained despite an erratic performance in the semifinal against New Zealand.
The hitherto untroubled openers seemed momentarily unsure, failing to catch hold of the ball and even playing and missing, but still got to 46-0 from the first 10 overs.
Fernando put down a caught-and-bowled chance when Gilchrist was on 31 and the wicketkeeper hit the next three balls for four, four and six.
Spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillekeratne Dilshan came on and slowed the scoring, but Gilchrist still made it to 50 off 43 balls, with five fours and two sixes.
Another huge six by Gilchrist brought up the 100 partnership, matching the total of 16 opening century stands in one-day internationals set by India's Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.
Gilchrist reached his hundred in the 21st over with his eighth four, going along with his six 6s.
Having beaten the 82-ball hundred scored by West Indies' great Lloyd against Australia in 1975, Gilchrist was almost out to the next delivery. But the ball rolled out of wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara's glove as he hit the ground.
Sangakkara admitted the chance had not carried and Gilchrist made the most of his let off to move on to 119, when Hayden fell to Malinga to make it 172-1.
The magnitude of Gilchrist's scoring was shown by Hayden, who had bludgeoned a tournament-high 621 runs going into the match, taking 55 balls for his 38.
Ponting and Gilchrist had another let off on 132 when a slog to the boundary just dropped between two fielders racing around on the rope.
However, he wasn't so lucky next time, slogging to mid on, where Mahela Jayawardene took an easy catch.
Gilchrist had needed just 104 balls to reach 149, the third highest total of this tournament, with 13 fours and eight sixes.
He departed the field with a smile, cheered raucously by the huge Australian contingent in the 28,000-seat stadium.
The smile got even wider a few hours later when Australia was handed the World Cup for the third straight time.


Updated : 2020-12-05 23:08 GMT+08:00