Hogg at the top of his game
Ricky Ponting said Brad Hogg, the left-arm wrist spinner, was at the peak of his bowling powers after he played a crucial role in keeping Australia's unbeaten World Cup record. Hogg's knack of taking important wickets continued against Sri Lanka when he removed both Mahela Jayawardene (72) and Chamara Silva (64) to end a 140-run stand that put Australia on track for a seven-wicket win.
Hogg also held his nerve after being attacked early on to finish with an economical 2 for 35 from his ten overs, pushing his tournament tally to 15 at 17.33. "Right through the middle period I always felt he was going to be our best wicket-taking option, which is why I kept him going," Ponting said. "He's bowled beautifully through the tournament, bowling as well now as he ever has and he's beating a lot of batsmen with his variations.
"He's taking a lot of wickets with his wrong'un and he's bowling it very well. More importantly, he's probably thinking through his bowling a lot better now than he ever has. He's using his variations very well and at the right times which he probably didn't always do."
Australians occupy four of the top seven spots in the tournament's bowling standings and Glenn McGrath heads the list with 20 victims at 14.15. McGrath, the World Cup's leading wicket-taker, is only three short of the tournament record of 23 set by Chaminda Vaas four years ago. Shaun Tait is in second place with 16 wickets at 22.12, Hogg is tied for third with Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori while Nathan Bracken, who took 4 for 19 against Sri Lanka, is seventh.