Gilchrist leads Australia to triumph in World Cup farce

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, April 28, 2007 (AFP) – Adam Gilchrist lived up to his billing as the most dangerous batsman in the one-day game with a record 149 as Australia won an unprecendented third straight World Cup final on Saturday in a match which ended in complete farce.

Australia triumphed by 53 runs over Sri Lanka on the Duckworth/Lewis method at Kensington Oval in a game ruined as a spectacle by the weather and overshadowed by confusion at the end.

Gilchrist’s innings, the highest in a final surpassing the 140 not out made by Australia captain Ricky Ponting against India in Johannesburg four years ago, was the centrepiece of the champions’ 281 for four.

But the game ended in farce with Australia thinking the final was finished due to bad light after 33 overs of the Sri Lankan innings, in a match reduced by rain to 38 a side, only for play to resume in pitch darkness on a ground without floodlights.

In all, Gilchrist, dropped on 31, faced just 104 balls with eight sixes and 13 fours as Australia set a daunting target in an innings reduced to 38 overs because of rain.

Victory meant Australia had won their fourth World Cup, improving their own record, in the tournament’s nine-edition history.

In the process they extended their unbeaten run o