Australia v Ireland, Super Eights, Barbados April 13, 2007

Johnston does a Freddie



Ricky Ponting: It was a win, not a "kill" © Getty Images

Reality bites
Even in the heavy defeat to New Zealand, Ireland were in the game for more than 40 overs. Here, that's about as long as they lasted, and Michael Hussey's disdainful slap over midwicket finished things off before lunch could be laid out.

New tricks for old master
Glenn McGrath was always renowned for nagging accuracy while pitching the ball just short of a length. Unlike a Waqar Younis or a Brett Lee, the yorker was never his forte. But in the evening of his career, he summoned up a superb inswinging one to flummox Jeremy Bray and set up the rout.

What might have been
In a dream world, Trent Johnston might have worn the baggy green [or gold in this case]. When confronted by McGrath, a fellow New South Welshman, he produced a peachy drive past mid-on that sent the Irish fans into raptures. The innings, like the Irish challenge, didn't last, but it was an image to freeze for posterity in the Johnston home.

Doing a Freddie
Johnston had his moment with the ball as well, getting some late movement off the pitch to end Adam Gilchrist's destructive cameo. Taking the cue from Andrew Flintoff and other English bowlers, he'd gone round the wicket. The celebratory chicken dance was very much his own though.

Irish luck runs out
The leprechauns were out in force and the calendar did say the 13th, but it certainly wasn't unlucky for Australia. Ricky Ponting won the toss on a pitch where most would have bowled, and even the inside edges didn't go Ireland's way. The crowd could only console themselves with the thought that there were beaches nearby.

Winning, not entertainment
One of the commentators on the radio asked Damien Fleming, who represented Australia at the World Cup in 1996 and '99, whether the large crowd would have got more value for money if Australia had batted. There was a brief pause, and then Fleming said: "They're here to win a game." It summed up the Australian approach, and might throw some light on why they haven't experienced defeat in the World Cup this century.

A kill or a win?
At the press conference, an Australian journalist asked Ponting and McGrath if the players got any enjoyment from "a kill like that". Ponting smirked for a second before saying: "Win. For us, it was another win in a World Cup game." Given earlier events in the tournament, some words are best avoided.

Dileep Premachandran is associate editor of Cricinfo

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