Gilchrist star man in final
Adam Gilchrist is unlike most people's idea of a typical Australian cricketer – except when it comes to his batting.
Indeed, he is arguably the most aggressive batsman ever to wear the green and gold, as his breathtaking man-of-the-match innings of 149 against Sri Lanka in yesterday's World Cup final at Kensington Oval in Barbados showed.
Gilchrist's 15th hundred in 268 matches at this level was arguably the left-handed opener's best.
In a match reduced to 38 overs per side, he smashed the Sri Lanka attack to all parts with a series of cleanly struck and mainly textbook boundaries in a devastating 104-ball innings featuring eight sixes and 13 fours, hands high on the blade as he swung with serene assurance.
Australia's total of 281 for four would have been impressive off 50 overs – off 38 it was jaw-dropping and set up his side's 53-run win on the Duckworth/Lewis method for rain-affected matches.
"It was really pleasing to do it on an important day. I've been getting a lot of starts, 30s and 40s, but hadn't converted and that was really frustrating," Gilchrist said after a final marred by rain.
"It's been a really satisfying tournament for us and a great way to say goodbye to Glenn McGrath and (coach) John Buchanan (who are both retiring)."
McGrath said linking up with old comrade Gilchrist was the perfect way for him to take his last wicket in international cricket against Sri Lanka.
McGrath, 37, and the man of the tournament after a record haul of 26 wickets, had a relatively subdued end to his illustrious career, having already announced he would retire after this event.
But he got in on the act when he had Sri Lanka's Russel Arnold caught by wicketkeeper Gilchrist.
The duo, now only two out of three players along with Australia captain Ricky Ponting to have won three World Cups, have formed a potent combination.
"I guess it was nice to finish off with a catch behind with Gilly," said McGrath, who in the course of the tournament became the World Cup's most successful bowler with 71 wickets.