Cricket Finals Mid-Game Report - The Green Mile of Adam Gilchrist
We are into the lunch break of the 2007 Cricket World Cup final. Even if the break were to be of 10 hours instead of 10 minutes I would be groping for words to describe it. I have decided that I will rather let this collage of images from various points of the Gilchrist innings. These can narrate what transpired till the 31st over of the Australian innings of The Final better than words ever would.
10.2 (ov): The first powerplay is over. Sri Lanka have restricted the Aussies to a rather low 1st Powerplay score of 47 in a 38-overs-a-side winner takes all encounter. Dilhara Fernando smiles ruefully as he failed a collect a very low c&b chance from Adam Craig Gilchrist, then batting on 31. The next three balls disappear for 4, 4 & 6.
22.2 (ov): Malinga bowls an inswinging near-yorker (outswinging for Gilly) that pitches on leg-n-middle and threatens to split the gap between bat and pad through late movement to hit off stump until Gilly, already predetermined for a big hit, still manages to make a little adjustment to middle the ball for a straight four over the bowler's head. An international batsman on another day or even another international batsman on this day would be mighty pleased just to survive that one. [cricinfo text commentary: "Where did that come from?"]
30.3 (ov): Adam Gilchrist skies a riser from Dilhara and Chamara Silva take the catch at mid on. Gilchrist departs for 149 off 104 balls. It makes the incident from 10.2 the turning point of the match.
If you are about to write off the Sri Lankan bowlers for having conceded 281 in 38 overs think again. A mere 109 runs were scored off the 129 balls faced by other Australian batsmen. That is very good against this batting side in a 38 over match. Add an Andrew Symonds coming in at the slog and scoring just 2 boundaries in nearly eight overs of stay and you'll think that the Australians finally met their match. It all, however, came to nought because Gilly rattled up 149 runs from the 104 deliveries he faced.
Just how special was it? I reckon that return of 149 to be at least 30 runs more than what any Australian batsman in prime form (including Gilchrist himself, perhaps) could have recorded against this bowling. Gilchrist hit no less than 8 sixes and 13 fours and yet so many of the shots came straight in or around the 'V'.
From whatever we know of the man, Adam Gilchrist will be speculating hard during the lunch break on announcing his ODI retirement today in the event of Australia pocketing their third successive World Cup title.
My vote is on a 'yes'. And so it should be.
Quote of the day: Ricky Ponting played out two dot balls and another one when Adam Gilchrist hit his seventh six off the first ball of Sanath's 27th over and took a single off the next ball. Michael Holding observed: "That's a nice ploy by Sri Lankans, to keep Ricky Ponting on strike. You never thought you would ever hear it, did you?"