Barbados farewell just fine for McGrath - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barbados farewell just fine for McGrath

By Greg Buckle 29/04/2007 06:50:30 PM Comments (0)

It wasn't quite the same as doing a victory lap of his beloved SCG in his final Test match, but for Glenn McGrath, his farewell performance in the World Cup final was enough to put a smile on a weary bowler's face.

McGrath took 1-31 in the 53-run win over Sri Lanka to finish with 71 career World Cup wickets, a record, and 26 wickets for the Caribbean series, also a record for a single World Cup tournament.

The 37-year-old right-armer also won the prestigious player of the series, presented after the game at Kensington Oval by West Indies great Sir Garfield Sobers.

It wasn't the five-for that the cheeky McGrath had hoped for, but he'll take it, having become one of only three triple World Cup winners alongside team-mates Rick Ponting and Adam Gilchrist.

Kensington Oval is the ground where McGrath took his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket in his breakthrough series in 1995, so it holds special memories.

"I said at the start I thought the natural progression in my eyes was that we would not only win every game but we would win every game convincingly," McGrath said of Australia's unbeaten World Cup campaign.

"I think we achieved that through this tournament.

"Playing with these guys, the self belief when you walk on to the field that we can win every single game we play and to go out there and have that focus and belief, it makes it a lot more enjoyable."

But they will play together no more. Ponting wanted to mark the occasion by giving McGrath the final over, but after the delay for bad light, Australia used spinners for the final three overs, robbing "Pigeon" of an emotional send-off.

"I actually took him off when I did because I wanted him to bowl the last over of the game and send him off on the right note," said Ponting, who admitted shedding a tear when McGrath, Justin Langer and Shane Warne retired at the end of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney in January.

McGrath was able to finish with a joke, saying while Australia used spinners in the last three overs for safety reasons in an agreement with Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene, maybe McGrath could have bowled anyway.

"Some people say the speed I am bowling at, I am bowling all arm balls," he said.

"But I guess it was nice to finish off not with what you call your normal caught behind but to finish off with a catch with Gilly (Gilchrist) was the perfect way to finish.

"I am happy with that," said McGrath, Test cricket's leading paceman with 563 wickets and the equal-fifth leading wicket-taker in one-day history with 381 victims.

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