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Gilchrist lights up final

April 29, 2007
Adam Gilchrist posted the highest score in a World Cup final to power Australia to a hat-trick of titles in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.

Australia posted 281 for four in 38 overs in the rain-curtailed summit clash. In reply, Sri Lanka could only manage 215 for 8 in 36 overs and lost by 53 runs on the Duckworth Lewis method.

The swashbuckling opener produced a display of magnificent stroke play to slam 149 off 104 balls for his maiden World Cup hundred and give the defending champions the upper hand at the Kensington Oval.

He hit eight sixes and 13 fours as the Sri Lankan bowling, which was considered the only attack in the tournament with the firepower to rein in the Aussie juggernaut, was pummeled into submission.

The Lankans had the right start when they checked the marauding openers, Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, to only 46 from the first 10 overs. But two fours and one six from Gilchrist in the following over by Dilhara Fernando opened the floodgates.

Hayden made a subdued 38 but his partner more than made up for his slow start and the duo put on 172 runs for the opening stand.

Gilchrist, who was reprieved a return catch by Fernando in that crucial 11th over, bettered his captain Ricky Ponting's 140 not out against India in the 2003 final which saw another show of supreme batsmanship.

It was also the left-hander's third 50-plus score in successive World Cup finals.

Gilchrist pushed off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan into the covers for a single to complete his half century from 43 balls, inclusive of five fours and two sixes.

Tillekaratne Dilshan was brought on from the other end and Gilchrist seized his moment with two straight sixes off the part-time bowler.

Another six, this time rather flat and wide off the long-off fielder, off Fernando rushed the left-hander to his 15th one-day hundred. He faced just 72 deliveries and hit eight fours and six sixes.

Gilchrist though continued to sail along in his inimitable style, sweeping Murali for a six and then pulling Sanath Jayasuriya high into the square leg stands.

He finally departed in the 31st over, hoisting one up in the air for the midwicket fielder to run to his right and complete an easy catch off Fernando.

The left-hander walked off to a standing ovation from the crowd, which witnessed one of the greatest one-day innings.

Photograph: Getty Images

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