Players from the champion sides relive their World Cup journeys

'I probably bowled 150 balls for that one ball'

2007, part three: Nathan Bracken on working towards dismissing Graeme Smith, and then beating South Africa to reach the final (00:00)

March 21, 2011


'I probably bowled 150 balls for that one ball'

March 21, 2011

I was dreadful [in the game against New Zealand which Australia won by 215 runs]. I didn't bowl very well, didn't feel comfortable, didn't swing the ball. When the game finished, the boys went, did our wind-down and went to the hotel. I went back out, bowled and just practised things with Troy Cooley. I put down some little tram-tracks on the pitch. At that stage we had South Africa in the semi-final. They had Graeme Smith who was the key. We went through performances when he had got a good start. If we got him early, the tempo changed. For me it was setting the tram-tracks up and just bowling over and over - practising to swing the ball to hit the top of off stump. Forget that game and learn from it. I wasn't happy with that game but moving forward it gave me the momentum and confidence leading to the next game.

In the semi-final, after dismissing Smith for 2] I said to Troy, "It was all worth it", and he started laughing. We went out and did the same thing the day before the game. I probably bowled 150 balls for that one ball. It hit the outside of off stump. Smith ran down the wicket and missed it. To me it just worked perfectly. Everything I had done gave me that confidence to back myself. Through the rest of that innings I just had the confidence to bowl.

The boys bowled particularly well. We took the start we got and just ran with it. Glenn bowled well and we got the key wicket of Jacques Kallis. We had Shaun Tait come back, always a nice thing. They hadn't seen a lot of him as well which put us in a better position. You could see that they were still trying to learn how to play him.

You sit and have your dream scenarios, but for us to be in that position against South Africa - having them at 27 for 5 after 10 overs - was amazing. It was a big thing for us and the real thing to take out of it was that we kept going. Obviously when the ball gets older it's easier to bat, it doesn't swing that much. We wanted to capitalise on the start we had and keep pushing hard, and we did.

There have been a few [better situations to have been in]. You go back to England it was two games back to back. For us it was probably a little bit of revenge after the 438 debacle that just didn't quite go our way.

As a team we performed well. It doesn't matter what they do, we have to do our job. Everything we prepare for and set up, we have to do. If we don't do that, we lose the game. At 5 for 20-odd we could have stepped back and let them cruise through to 200 and we'll just knock it off. We put us in a position to do the job.

For us it's not about making the final, it's about winning. That was the whole structure for the tournament, we didn't want to make it to the final and then lose. John Buchanan was basically pushing the fact that there was one more game to go. It was what we were building for 12 months. When you sit there and you think, it puts a bit of pressure on you, because everything is for one game. Every extra training session, every extra net session, everything weird and wonderful we have done over the last 12 months was for this one game. So it puts a little bit pressure on us, but for us it's about doing our job.

We were in a position of losing in New Zealand and losing in Australia, we had lost. We lost the two finals in front of our home crowd to England, of all countries. It put me in a position that we understood that there are a lot of teams in the world that can beat us if we're not on.

In the big games, under pressure, we perform. When it gets to those sort of positions, when it's tight, somebody has to do something. We always find somebody who does something. The big games, we always stand up for. If we lose it, this tournament's been a failure. If we win it, we've done what we should have done.

For the final, we went to Barbados, the Hilton Hotel, which was nice. It had a beach with waves. The boys would be straight in the surf. It just gave us a different lease on life. We were all on one level of the hotel and it was just a chance to kick back, relax, prepare and be focused for what we need to do.

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