World Cup Countdown: Adam Gilchrist special lands Australia World Cup treble
Adam Gilchrist's 149 remains the highest individual score in a World Cup final till date. (Getty Image)

In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World CupCricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the tournament over the years – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 27 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown, we rewind to April 28, 2007, when the indomitable Australian cricket team won their third straight World Cup title, and fourth overall, after beating Sri Lanka by 53 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method.

Australia stormed to a World Cup treble when they slayed Sri Lanka in the final in 2007. However, it wasn’t the best of conditions to celebrate a World Cup win given the gloomy conditions of the Kensington Oval. The entire tournament was marred by questions prevailing over the management. More than one match was affected due to inclement weather but there remained hope at least the final would be spared of the nightmarish rain-effected outcome.

But as the trend was in the Caribbean, the high-profile final between Sri Lanka and Australia – a repeat of the final from 11 years ago – turned out to be a gloomy affair, with firstly, rain resulting in loss of overs, and later, bad light spoiling the final moments of the match. However, purely from the cricket perspective, some quality was dished out, with Adam Gilchrist setting the record for the highest-ever individual in a World Cup final.

After rain had shrunk the match to a 38-overs-a-side contest, Gilchrist had set the tone with an early assault on Chaminda Vaas. It was Gilchrist’s third fifty-plus score in a World Cup final, following a 36-ball 54 against Pakistan in 1999 and another 57 off 54 against four years later. Here, he reserved his best and went about punishing the Sri Lankan attack en route to a 72-ball century with 13 fours and eight sixes. Gilchrist was on a run-a-ball 31 when Dilhara Fernando put down a sharp return catch. Next, Gilchrist was unstoppable.

And here’s another stunner. Gilchrist batted with a squash ball inside his left glove. It’s a ploy he’d implied several times before and succeeded on each of those occasions. Gilchrist and Hayden brutalised Sri Lanka’s bowlers, adding 172 for the opening wicket with Matthew Hayden, who himself took his tournament tally to 659 runs.

Gilchrist finally holed out for 149, but with useful contributions from skipper Ricky Ponting and Andrey Symonds, Australia finished on a massive 281 for 4, a total that could have extended to 359 – their score in final in 2003 – had we had a full quota of 50 overs. Every Sri Lankan bowler ended up conceding at over six an over.

Sri Lanka were in the game till the second wicket pair of Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara fought with a 116-run partnership. Jayasuriya, playing his final 50-over World Cup was at his vintage best, being the aggressor of the two. But once the alliance was snapped, and both batsmen fell in quick succession, it all went downhill for Sri Lanka.

The middle order was no match for Australia’s bowling firepower and Aravinda de Silva’s was the next highest score of 21. With lights dropping and a dark cover taking over the Kensington Oval, light was offered to Sri Lanka with another 63 required off 18. No further play seemed possible and Australia had begun celebrating. Play somehow resumed but it had no bearing on the outcome of the game. With the target further revised to 269 needed off 36 overs, Sri Lanka finished on 215 for 8 as Australia celebrated their third straight World Cup triumph, fourth overall.