|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
September 20, 2007
The first 10am start of the tournament at Cape Town always meant the toss would be crucial and after the coin fell in Australia's favour, Brett Lee was on the spot straight away. His second ball swung back into Sanath Jayasuriya, cutting him in half, the next delivery was a touch fuller and did exactly the same. This time Asad Rauf raised his finger and Sri Lanka were immediately on the back foot. Meanwhile, Jayasuriya's tournament continued to nosedive with his last three scores reading 5, 0 and 0.
Lee was at the centre of most of the early action. After removing Jayasuriya he held onto Upul Tharanga's top edge at third man before having Mahela Jayawardene caught at mid-on from a ball which stopped on the surface. Jayawardene could hardly tear himself away from the crease, realising his side's chances were slipping away. The problems grew when Lee, again at third man, but this time to a right-hander, made Chamara Silva's outside edge appear a comfortable catch. It used to be that fast bowlers didn't make the best fielders but Lee is a supreme athlete - and confirmed it with a third catch, a well-judged running effort, to remove Chaminda Vaas.
Clark and Clarke
Early on in the tournament the scoreboard at Newlands had a few issues deciding whether it wanted to show Michael Clarke or Stuart Clark. It's a good job it was in full working order today as both combined twice to plunge Sri Lanka into deeper trouble. Kumar Sangakkara, trying his best to hold the innings together, slashed to backward point where Clarke took a smart low catch, but his next effort was on another level. Farveez Maharoof tried to drive through the covers, only to get an outside edge which flew in the direction of Clarke. It was skimming inches above the turf; Clarke flung himself to his right and managed to get a hand underneath the ball for one of the catches of the tournament.
Six and ouch
The control Australia had throughout the innings was emphasised when the first six didn't come until the 19th over - a meaty blow by Lasith Malinga - but that wasn't the real drama. Shane Watson, in his first match back after recovering from a hamstring injury, followed through and immediately clutched his left hamstring. Once again he left the field distraught and more time on the sidelines beckons. It is becoming a depressing pattern and creates further questions about Watson's long-term future.
Australia barely had to break sweat during their run chase, but there was still time for Matthew Hayden to show his brute force. His unforgiving strokeplay stamped Australia's complete superiority on the match, but it is no different to the way he goes about his innings in ODIs and sometimes even in Tests. There isn't anything graceful about how he plays, wielding his huge bat like a sledge hammer, but it has served him well and lifted him top of the run-scoring table for the time being.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper