The dead rubber between Australia and Sri Lanka at the MCG has inspired me to return to the ‘Cricket With Balls’ blogging crease once again.
Adam Gilchrist’s never ending national retirement tour hogged the headlines with his final appearance at the hallowed MCG. Gilchrist didn’t fail to let down his legion of fans with a typical commanding display, which should have been match winning. He may have put aside team goals in pursuit of an Australian record for the fastest century? You be the judge?
The wicket of Hopes with the score at 107 triggered a spectacular, quite unbelievable collapse resulting in the lose of 5 wickets for 8 runs as the Sri Lankans rallied for two living legends of their own in Sanath Jayasuriya and Murali. The Aussies never recovered despite the determined effort of the lastest Allan Border medallist, Brett Lee. Murali bowled an inspired second spell following an earlier pasting from Gilchrist.
Clearly the highlight of the game came in the 49th over when Jayasuriya was thrown the ball for his first over of the innings, with Australia needing 14. Jayasuriya delivered one of his trademark darts, a little shorter than usual, that crashed into Lee’s stumps to deliver Sri Lanka with a shock come from behind win and crown his final visit to these shores. A mighty cricketing moment indeed.
Earlier, in great scenes of sportsmanship and respect, both sides formed guards of honor for each of the above mentioned players when they came out to bat. Jayasuriya and Murali have been pivotal in shaping the success of Sri Lankan cricket from minnow status to forces in both forms of the game with the obvious career highlight being the 1996 World Cup victory. Both players have changed the game forever with their individual styles of play and have raised the bar of performance to another level.
As for Gilly and the forgetten Brad Hogg, they will have another chance to leave the game on a high with the One Day series finals beginning on Sunday. Hopefully, they can both contribute to Australia going one better than they did tonight, against the Indians