Australia through to World Cup final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia through to World Cup final

By Will Swanton 19/03/2003 05:28:26 AM Comments (0)

Adam Gilchrist refused to be dishonest. Australia refused to be beaten.

The defending World Cup champions had plenty to do after being restricted to 7-212 in Tuesday's semi-final against Sri Lanka but they emerged in the field breathing fire to book a place in the big one on Sunday.

Sri Lanka was reeling at 7-123 after 38.1 overs when driving rain forced an early end to a contest that had already become lopsided. Under the Duckworth-Lewis system, Sri Lanka needed to be 172 runs to be awarded victory.

A quick start with the ball was essential after Australia's mediocre innings, which was salvaged by Andrew Symonds' unbeaten 118-ball 91 and remarkable for Gilchrist's decision to walk from the crease as umpire Rudi Koertzen was rejecting an appeal for his dismissal.

Sri Lankan openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu put on 21 runs for the first wicket but Brett Lee (3-35) kept pressing them until finally they broke.

He bowled dangerman Atapattu with a 160.1km/h firecracker that set Australia on its way.

Fired up, frowning as he ran in, he went on to take the scalps of Hashan Tillekeratne (three) and Avishka Gunawardene (one) in an opening six-over salvo that was expensive but achieved the primary objective of taking wickets.

Glenn McGrath had Jayasuriya caught at square leg by Symonds and then Andy Bichel came up with a lightning-fast run out of Aravinda de Silva that left Sri Lanka reeling at 5-51. It was all over in the 14th over.

Bichel's first ball was pushed to the on-side by Kumar Sangakkara and the batsmen set off on a risky single. Bichel gathered the ball in his left hand, turned and threw down the stumps with his right at the wicketkeepers' end with de Silva comfortably short.

The Sri Lankan veteran took off his gloves and helmet before video umpire Aleem Dar confirmed his dismissal. The Australians were cock-a-hoop. The three batsmen they feared the most - Atapattu, Jayasuriya and de Silva - were all taken care of.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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