28 April 2007
Australia began its attempt for an unprecedented third straight World Cup triumph in today's final against Sri Lanka after rain clouds cleared over Kensington Oval.
Australia had won the toss for the match in Bridgetown, Barbados, and chose to bat first. Ater a three hour rain delay Australia has started their innings and have posted a commanding 281 in stipulated 38 overs. Adam Gilchrist was instrumental with his blitzkrieg 149 off just 104 balls to set the pace of the Australian innings.
The game was reduced to 38 overs a side instead of 50, with three bowlers on each team allowed eight overs and two a maximum of seven.
There will be two powerplays of 10 and five overs, rather than the regular three.
The covers had been on and off all morning but the wicket still promises to be bouncy and true, which should be to the benefit of batsmen who have been in form for both sides.
Australia opener Matthew Hayden has bludgeoned a tournament high 621 runs, 92 more than Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene. Australia captain Ricky Ponting is third with 502.
However, overcast conditions could cause extra movement for the swing of Chaminda Vaas and pace of Lasith Malinga, offsetting any benefit of the pitch deteriorating later.
"We've been waiting for this for a long time," Ponting said. "There'll be a few nerves around but the experienced guys know how to handle their emotions. It's one of the biggest days of our lives."
Jayawardene wasn't too disappointed to lose the toss.
"It's a great day for us," he said. "We're going to have some fun."
Both sides named an unchanged team after convincing semifinal wins, with Sri Lanka including fast bowler Dilhara Fernando despite speculation that he would be dropped after an erratic performance in Tuesday's 81-run victory over New Zealand.
The match at Bridgetown's Kensington Oval represents the last chance for any team to stop Australia taking an unprecedented third straight title.
Australia has cruised through 10 tournament games to carry its unbeaten streak at the World Cup to 28 matches.
Austrlian opener Matthew hayden and Adam Gilchrist made a flying start in the final and Asutralia raced to 136-0 after 20.3 overs. Gilchrist is in explosive form is batting on 100 of only 72 balls. This is the fastest hundred in world cup finals.