Kuala Lumpur: Displaying more hunger, drive and planning than India and the West Indies, the Australians won the DLF Cup in style last night. What was interesting though, was that the Australians looked equally threatening as they generally look, even with an experimental line-up.
It was the perfect first delivery, frighteningly quick, arcing like a boomerang and crunching into Chris Gayle's toe, plumb in front of the stumps in the final. This is pretty much the way the Australians played the DLF Cup.
So what if McGrath took just one wicket? Brett Lee, Shane Watson and Nathan Bracken, with 23 wickets among them, more than made up for it. And the fact that Brad Hiddin, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke were the top three scorers for Australia in the tournament is indicative of the fact that Ponting's experiments have finally started paying off.
"Looking back at the last two or three weeks, I think it's been very successful considering the experimentation that we've had and trying different guys in different roles, and getting a look at some guys who probably wouldn't have had a chance of playing at all. I think it's been a really good exercise for us," says the Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
His West Indies counterpart Brian Lara though, must be encouraged that his team made the final at all.
"It's just unfortunate that we didn't get our act together today. But, getting to the finals was a plus. We've got a week in Malaysia to work on our game getting towards the Champions Trophy. So, we are going to try our best there," says Brian Lara.
While Sachin's phenomenal return to international cricket must have pleased coach Greg Chappell and skipper Rahul Dravid, the fact that not a single batsman could accumulate even a 100 runs in four matches apart from Sachin, must be a cause of worry.
Australia hadn't played international cricket for the last five months. But by beating West Indies in the final of the tri-series, they have proved yet again, that it will be a very difficult task for any other team to beat the world champions.
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates