WC 2003 - Australia on the verge of 12th consecutive ODI victory
Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003, 20:34 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Australia aiming for record-breaking win against England
Johannesburg: World champion Australia will confirm its place as one of the greatest sides of all time on Sunday if it beats England to record a 12th successive One-day International win.Victory in the final World Cup Group game in Port Elizabeth will take it past the 11 wins in-a-row achieved by Clive Lloyd's West Indies team, which set the standard from June 1984 to February 1985.However, the world champion insists that the record is not on its minds, it is just concentrating on beating the old enemy for the 13th time in-a-row."Record-breaking is the sign of a good team. It shows we have some brilliant individuals and it's nice to have created records but it's not all we think about," skipper Ricky Ponting said. When it comes to comparisons between the two teams, Ponting's reputation as a skipper is in its infancy while West Indian Lloyd won two world titles in 1975 and 1979 and even hit a match-winning century in the first final at Lord's.The West Indies boasted a solid opening pair in Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge - Haynes smashed 17 One-day tons, which remained a record until it was surpassed by Sachin Tendulkar.Into the middle order was future captain Richie Richardson. When he was out, there was no respite as next in was Viv Richards, who boasted a One-day strike rate of 90.20.Gus Logie often appeared next although his figures never did him justice as his solitary One-day century illustrates.Where the West Indies had Jeff Dujon behind the stumps, the Australians boast Adam Gilchrist, who held six catches against Namibia in Potcheftsroom on Thursday."The record hasn't come up at all here. Maybe it's because it has been over two series and there have been a whole lot of issues in between," the vice-captain said."The record would be nice, but it is certainly not a focus for the team."In the bowling stakes, the West Indies relied on Roger Harper as a spinner while Brad Hogg is seizing his chance filling in for the banned Shane Warne.For pacemen, the Caribbean kings could call on Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner, while Australians Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee all strike fear into 21st Century batsmen.McGrath clinched a personal record against the hapless Namibians with the best ever World Cup bowling figures of 7 for 15, ironically bettering the 7 for 51 of West Indies' Winston Davis against Australia in the 1983 tournament.The 2003 Australians are not everybody's favourites here, being roundly condemned as arrogant in some quarters.Interestingly, Richards, part of that great West Indies team of 20 years ago, is having none of it."They are highly professional and you've got to have the same mental toughness. Everyone we played at that time went and did their homework and came up with strategies," Richards said."When great teams come along, they're going to leave a mark for quite some time."