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Big trophy No. 1 for Australia
The first of Australia's multiple World Cup titles. England, making their second appearance in the final, were cruising at 135 for 2, when Mike Gatting top-edged a reverse-sweep off Allan Border to the wicketkeeper, Greg Dyer. Even after his fall, their target of 254 seemed within easy reach - they needed 102 off 15 overs. But when Steve Waugh took the crucial wicket of Allan Lamb (45), things began to unravel for England. Australia won by seven runs and David Boon was the Man of the Match for his 75.
Birth of Brett Lee, who excelled as an exponent of extreme speed over a decade without achieving the all-conquering success required to earn the tag of a true Test great. Fast and with a flashy smile that added to his star quality, he finished as Australia's fourth-most successful bowler, with 310 wickets in 76 matches. He got 42 wickets in his first seven Tests but then suffered a series of injuries, first to his elbow and then several to his ankle. In 2009, having missed the Ashes because of a side strain, he decided to retire from Tests in order to prolong his limited-overs career. In 2012 he retired from all international cricket.
The last pair of Ridley Jacobs and Fidel Edwards negotiated the last half-hour safely to allow West Indies to hold on by the thinnest of threads in the first Test against Zimbabwe in Harare. This was the last real hurrah in Tests for a whole clutch of Zimbabwean players. Heath Streak scored a hundred from No. 8, but they were denied what would have been their eighth Test victory.
After New Zealand smashed their then highest one-day total (349 for 9) to win the first match in Rajkot three days earlier, India did likewise in the second in Hyderabad. They demolished New Zealand by 174 runs thanks to an imperious batting display - they made 376 for 2, with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid putting on 331, the highest partnership for any wicket in an ODI. Dravid hit a run-a-ball 153 but was overshadowed by the majesty of Tendulkar, who faced three balls fewer for 33 runs more. All the bowlers took some fearful hammer, none more so than Chris Drum (9-0-85-0). Off the last six overs, India crashed 90.
Birth of the second nightwatchman to make a Test hundred. Australia's Tony Mann followed Nasim-ul-Ghani of Pakistan with 105 against India in Perth in 1977-78. But whereas Nasim was hardly a fish out of water batting at No. 6, Mann was well and truly in at the deep end at No. 3. It was a vital innings too, as it laid the foundation for Australia's successful fourth-innings chase of 342 for 8. But Mann continued to struggle in his day job (after taking 3 for 12 in his first innings, his leggies yielded only one more wicket at a cost of 304 runs) and played only two more Tests.
International cricket took a leaf out of the Sunday League's book when Zimbabwe played a one-day international against New Zealand in the middle of a Test match. The second one-dayer was sandwiched between the first and second days of the second Test, but such nonsense meant little to Martin Crowe: fresh from an imperious 140 in whites, he put on the pyjamas and cracked a match-winning 94, off only 87 balls. There was also a brief moment of controversy when Dipak Patel ran out the non-striker, Grant Flower, for backing up too far.
The birth of Niall O'Brien, Ireland's feisty left-handed batsman and wicketkeeper. His most famous knock was the 72 in the 2007 World Cup, when he led Ireland to a stunning win over Pakistan. He was named Northants' Player of the Year at the end of the 2008 season and helped Ireland qualify for the 2011 World Cup - where he scored 167 runs in five matches - and the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka.
Papua New Guinea made quite an entry into one-day cricket, needing only 39 overs to chase 203 and beat Hong Kong by four wickets in Townsville, in their inaugural ODI. Half-centuries by Charles Amini and Vani Morea revived a chase that had been flagging at 76 for 5 at one point.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
That there is a place for proper batsmanship in ODIs, that New Zealand punch above their weight, and that wickets win you matches. By Ed Smith
Jarrod Kimber: Led by their fearless captain, New Zealand threw themselves at this World Cup and came as close as they ever have done to greatness
Match Point: Michael Holding, Ian Chappell and Ajit Agarkar on ways to make the tournament better
Tony Cozier: The incoming ECB chairman's pre-series comments could motivate the hosts to show the resolve that was lacking in recent months
Nicholas Hogg: In close matches you ponder over the what-could-have-beens; in a one-sided game, the past is put to rest quickly
Whatever happens, the Australia-New Zealand World Cup final at the MCG will be the most divine fun