Gilchrist hundred leads Australia to World Cup win

Australia confirmed their place in World Cup history by becoming the first side ever to win three successive finals after clinching a 53-run victory in bizarre circumstances over Sri Lanka.

The reigning world champions began their celebrations when Sri Lanka, who had slipped to 206 for seven chasing Australia's 281 for four, accepted the offer of bad light and walked off shortly after 6.10pm at the Kensington Oval.

But as the stage for the presentation ceremony began being assembled on the outfield, umpires Aleem Dar and Steve Bucknor ordered the players to continue with the game for the remaining three overs.

In pitch black conditions, Sri Lanka continued to reach 215 for eight before the players, by now barely visible to the crowd, could begin their celebrations and provide a fitting ending for tournament that has been criticised from start to finish.

Having pitched ticket prices too high to prevent locals from filling out the stadia, banned musical instruments to avoid any hint of Caribbean flavour and stretched the tournament to over two months, it surprised few present that it should end as such a farce.

It also denied Australia a fitting ending having dominated the tournament from start to last when many predicted it was going to be the most open World Cup in years.

Having claimed their third successive triumph, it confirmed Australia as the greatest team in the World Cup's 32-year history by emulating the great West Indies' side' achievement of back-to-back successes in 1975 and 1979.

It also firmly ended suggestions that Australia's ageing side could no longer compete at the highest level having entered the tournament with six defeats from their previous seven matches.

But while teams like England celebrated lesser successes in the Commonwealth Bank series, Australia concentrated on adding the World Cup to their already impressive haul this winter of the ICC Champions Trophy and the regaining of the Ashes with a 5-0 whitewash.

Today's triumph also marked the end of an era with Glenn McGrath already confirming his retirement while Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Brad Hogg unlikely to be around when Australia defend their trophy when the World Cup is staged by India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2011.

Perhaps realising the magnitude of the occasion, Gilchrist stamped his mark in brutal fashion with a blistering onslaught on Sri Lanka's attack to record the highest score ever in a World Cup final.

Australian captain Ponting's brilliant 140 against India four years earlier had been an innings to savour, but this was a demonstration of Gilchrist's devastating power and effectively settled the final as an outcome.

His 149 came off only 104 balls and included 13 fours and eight sixes and left Sri Lanka's highly regarded attack searching for answers as he flayed them around the Kensington Oval.

He dominated a 172-run opening partnership which Hayden contributed only 38 to before driving Lasith Malinga to captain Mahela Jayawardene at mid-off.

Until that breakthrough Sri Lanka were left in despair at the clinical power of Gilchrist's strokeplay with seamer Dilhara Fernando being hit for 29 in his first three overs while spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan conceded 19 in one over.

Gilchrist had three reprieves during his brutal innings, the most costly of which was on 31 when Fernando dropped an ankle-high return catch, a mistake which was exploited to the full with the Australian wicketkeeper hitting fours off the next two deliveries before launching a six over long on from the next.

Wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara was also unable to take the chance when Gilchrist edged Malinga behind the next delivery after reaching his hundred while he was also missed on 132 in the deep by Chamara Silva off Muttiah Muralitharan.

He continued his assault even after Hayden's dismissal before finally top-edging Fernando and being caught at mid-wicket by Silva after setting Australia on course for a huge total.

They failed to reach 300 after losing two wickets in the final three overs with captain Ponting being run out going for a quick single and Shane Watson being bowled trying to paddle Malinga down to fine leg.

Any hopes Sri Lanka had of matching Australia's efforts depended on one of their top four matching Gilchrist and delivering a brilliant innings to keep pace with the daunting run-rate.

Upul Tharanga set the right tone by driving the first ball of their reply through the covers for four off left-arm seamer Nathan Bracken, but then edged behind in his next over.

Australia nearly made further inroads three overs later when Sangakkara upper cut Shaun Tait but Watson, running in from third man, failed to take the diving catch.

Unlike Gilchrist, Sangakkara failed to take full advantage although for 17 overs with Sanath Jayasuriya while they piled on 116 runs, their hopes were still alive.

The inspired introduction of Hogg, however, virtually ended the contest when he induced Sangakkara into a mis-timed pull straight to Ponting at mid-on for 54.

Just three overs later Jayasuriya followed him back to the dressing room after being bowled trying to slog left-arm spinner Michael Clarke and, with showers threatening and light fading, so to did Sri Lanka's hopes.

By the time Malinga was last out, stumped by Gilchrist off Andrew Symonds' off-spin, few in the ground could witness the final scenes.

The ICC's decision to turn on the lights for Australia's victory lap and a huge end of tournament musical extravaganza only heightened the farcical ending to Australia's unique achievement.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game