Players from the champion sides relive their World Cup journeys

'McGrath was very aggressive. He wanted to dominate in his last tournament'

2007, part four: Nathan Bracken on Gilchrist's hundred and the umpires' bloopers in the final, and the impact of McGrath and Buchanan on Australia (00:00)

March 21, 2011


'McGrath was very aggressive. He wanted to dominate in his last tournament'

March 21, 2011

When we got to the ground for the final it was cloudy, and there was talk that we might be back to play tomorrow. Rain cleared up, it dried off, and the next thing I remember is Gilly and his squash ball. He put his hand up at the end of the tournament and said, "I want to do something special". And he did. To sit and watch it was unbelievable. He and Matthew [Hayden], when they are on, it doesn't matter who you are. If you are a fast bowler or a spinner, if they hit it, it's gone. Gilly was going at a rate of knots and scoring at a serious pace. It didn't matter who came on. Murali or Malinga - it just kept disappearing. This is going how we wanted it to go. But you also realise that there are guys like Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and other guys who could hurt you. We were enjoying the show that Adam put on, and then realising where we had to go.

It might sound arrogant, but no, we weren't worried when Sri Lanka were batting. You play enough cricket to know how to control the tempo of the game. Sometimes you get into positions, like how we did against South Africa, we could not bowl our way back. We just thought it was one wicket. We started well with a couple of early wickets, we saw glimpses of what was happening. Jayasuriya got a few, and he actually got out trying to hit over mid-on, which is something he doesn't do. To see that, we were thinking they were under pressure, playing different shots. For us we just had to keep working at what we needed to do. From 20 overs they need to get 170 and all it would take was one wicket here or there, that would slow everything down and we could pull it back.

We knew we'd won [after Sri Lanka took the light after 33 overs]. When you have Mr Cricket, Mike Hussey, in your team that really helps a lot. He had all the information and we had the idea, we read through the rules. A couple of blokes were a little uncertain about the light. If they take it, it's done, it's game over. We were pretty confident at that stage that we had won, which you could see by the little celebration that we had. We had to do take two of it later.

It wasn't going to get any sunnier. We went off, then it all sort of started. As we were going off the field we were told to stay on. We were told we were coming back tomorrow. Ricky said we're not going to come back tomorrow because the game is over because of this rule. John Buchanan and Ricky Ponting were very good because they knew the rules. It got to the point where it was one of the best pieces of sportsmanship I've ever seen. Sri Lanka agreed to come out and there was no controversy. They said they would bat the overs and obviously we couldn't bowl Glenn or whoever. The game was pretty much gone. They weren't in a position where they could win it. But to go back out there and finish the overs that were required so it was done, it was something that I will always remember them for.

The umpires wanted us to come back tomorrow and finish the game. We heard it was a whole new start, then just finishing these five overs. Not much point coming back for five overs. That's where Sri Lanka came out and finished the overs.

I was at backward point at one stage and the ball was hit and Brad Hogg was next to me. I looked at him and he looked at me and we both moved in the opposite direction. We knew it was coming near us but not exactly where it was. It was very dark and in certain positions where you had the crowd, it was very difficult to see.

Obviously we were really happy to win. Then we started to realsze that we had won the World Cup. Then it was the the real enjoyment aspect of everything that we worked for the last 12 months to get to this point.

We hung around and all the people were coming into the change room, friends and family said hi. We wanted to sing the song in the middle and we went out to the middle of the ground. We didn't realise the ground was shut. We had security coming on the ground. It wasn't a bloke in blue like in Sydney. It was the military with machine guns and cammo gear. We just wanted to sing the song and the security said, "Guys you have to get off". The negotiations started and one of the high-ranking officers came out. Our fitness trainer said we want to sing the team song and then we'll get off. It was a really interesting end to the World Cup.

The unit worked well together. Shaun Tait was exceptional, very aggressive, and took a lot of wickets. Glenn played a bit differently to what he played through half his career. He was very aggressive and was literally out there to take wickets, was using the short ball on the flat wickets - he got Ian Bell out in the game against England. You could see that Glenn wanted to dominate. He wanted to be the man and show that in his last tournament, he was the man. He put his hand up in tough situations and bowled well and gave us the chance to move forward.

He was unbelievable. You look at the last game, the emotion he would have had. This is my last game for Australia, like some of the other guys. To still do that job, like he did throughout the tournament, is amazing. The pressure he would have had on himself, he's a perfectionist. The Kallis wicket, he pin-pointed him out and said it doesn't matter if he doesn't get out. And then he goes and does it. You've got to hang in for 10 overs from this bloke and he still gets you out. Just shows how good he is. To me it's a fitting way to remember him as a cricketer. And he was always the class clown to the end.

For me Buchanan was very good. He gave me information on what I needed to play teams. If I wanted 300 words on how Jayasuriya plays his square drive, he'd give me that. He'd show me wagon-wheels and the pitch map. Some of the things he did were very different, like going to the fort. I really enjoyed having him there. It was sad to see him go. He contributed so much to Australian cricket for a very long period of time. He stood behind us all the time.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

Nice! I love this series, Cricinfo. Keep it up!

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