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Justin Langer
Wednesday 1 September 1999
The good guys miss world record at final hurdle

With the humid subcontinent air hanging over the Premadasor Stadium like a heavy woollen blanket, our world champion one-day team was unable to break the world record of consecutive victories last night. The team knew there was more to play for than just another silver trophy for the ACB's well-stocked cabinets, as this final was to be the last one-dayer to be led by coach Geoff 'Swampy' Marsh. It was also an opportunity to break England's world record of consecutive one-day international victories.

After a whirlwind start by deserved man of the series Adam Gilchrist, the boys seemed to lose their way a little, falling foul to what looked like some very good spin bowling from the Sri Lankans. After 'Bevo' went for a first ball duck, a perceived miracle considering his mastery of the one-day game, the good guys were only able to muster 202 runs on what looked like a slow but flat Colombo pitch.

At the break there was still an air of confidence within the team although it was obvious that another 20 or 30 runs would have been handy. As so often happens the first 15 overs proved to be productive for the Sri Lankan top order who used their experience in the oppressive conditions to kickstart an excellent run chase. Thanks to the pocket dynamo Kaluwitharana the hosts played with authority to steal, what seemed before a ball had been bowled, to be an unlikely victory.

Although the guys were disappointed not to have finished off with another victory they must be commended on their outstanding dominance during this tournament and of course through the World Cup. Andrew Symonds made the most of his opportunity in the last two weeks to secure a berth in the starting line-up next time the one-day team comes together. With the bat, ball and in the field, Symmo looks an outstanding prospect who could play a load of cricket in the green and gold outfit. He is a very exciting player who has matured into an excellent all-round cricketer.

Like the changing of the guard seven of the guys left Colombo last night, returning for pre season commitments with their respective States. There is not much time in between series these days as 22 Australian cricketers in Colombo was reduced to 15 last night at 2:30am when Messers Moody, Martyn, Gilchrist, Lehmann, Symonds, Dale and Bevan flew home to renew acquaintances with their families and familiar territories.

The achievements of the one-day team have been inspiring over the winter leaving the Test side determined to maintain our standard and standing as the number one Test playing nation in the World. After a tough series against the West Indies six months ago the engines are just starting to roar into what promises to be a powerful machine over the next six months of Test cricket. One Test against Zimbabwe, three against Pakistan and India and three in New Zealand will follow the three Test matches against Sri Lanka that kicks off in a week's time. Thirteen Tests in six months gives us plenty of Test cricket opportunities to match the magnificent one-day success over the winter.

From Colombo, JL