Ayio, Yahaluweni. Still a little bleary-eyed and tired today? Not too surprising is it?
Well, what do you expect? Sitting up all hours, and while they did their best and the winds of destiny didn`t quite favour Mahela Jayawardene`s side this time, there is a next time.
While maybe not for all those who played in this World Cup final in Barbados, but for some of them at least there will be a second chance. It is when the true value of the Tom Moody legacy will show itself. But, whether you like it or not, to win a World Cup, a side has to be as professionally drilled and as disciplined as are Australia.
Yet, you cannot help thinking as well, just how little different have been the last three results. Sri Lanka did at least manage to put up a far better fight than Pakistan (Lord`s 1999) and India (The Wanderers 2003). And just how much the loss of overs in the Duckworth/Lewis affected Sri Lanka`s strategy would be an interesting exercise.
When a side bowling first under such circumstances is deprived of all their overs, it is often hard to calculate who should bowl what, although Muttiah Muralitharan bowling an over less than Dilhara Fernando was skewed thinking. And Mahela Jayawardene not being too sure whether he would have bowled first, suggested uncertainty in certain team planning.
Although not quite déjà vu, it isn`t the first time that the D/L system was used to get a World Cup result between Sri Lanka and Australia. For those with a memory, what about St George`s Park, Port Elizabeth on March 18, 2003? It was when Sri Lanka were asked to chase 172 after Australia had scored 212 in their 50 overs.
Messrs Duckworth and Lewis took a second bow in a Sri Lanka game during that tournament when their calculations made it obvious what had already become apparent an hour before when Australia won the first semi-final by forty-eight runs.
As the long promised rain swept across the historic venue, Sri Lanka had failed to live up to their promise as their psyche failed them at the most crucial hurdle of an event which had upset predictions, the form book and any number of hopes. As it is, Sri Lanka had swept into the last four when an accomplished India side beat New Zealand in Centurion.
And the way Australia performed in that first semi-final was warning enough; they were as destructive as they have been since.
Ricky Ponting winning the toss (he makes a habit of this against Sri Lanka, doesn`t he?), knew he had had some advantage in being able to bat first, but as he said after the game, he would have preferred to win on the field and not though D/L calculations. In that semi-final, Sri Lanka lost it when at four for forty-three and then five for fifty-one only eleven balls later the innings was in a state of collapse.
It was left to a scrambling yet battling unbroken partnership of forty-seven between Kumar Sangakkara and Chaminda Vaas which salvaged some credit for the islanders. By then it was far too late, with Sangakkara, undefeated on thirty-nine doing what he could to hold on in the hope the rain might not arrive and a miracle that he and Vaas would get a few more runs in another revision of the required target.
The gamble of playing seven batsmen, with Mahela Jayawardene back in the side failed to work and with Avishka Gunawardena waving ineffectually at a Brett Lee delivery the innings subsided as a mud hut ravaged in a monsoon storm. Sri Lanka did not seem to know how to attack the Australians and challenge them at their own game. Talk about déjà vu.
Lee was as devastating as usual and his three-wicket burst in six overs was all the Australians needed to place Sri Lanka under pressure as they set out to hunt down the 213 needed for a place in the final. There was a view that Australia might have been between twenty to thirty runs short, but in the end the way they capitulated, Sri Lanka were always in trouble.
How history repeats itself! Ponting has had four years to grow into the role as captain. In this he is the sort of skipper, who, standing on the bridge and enjoys shouting a few orders over the tannoy. `Now hear this . . . guys. On Friday we are going in with the big guns; give the Sri Lankans pace blitz up front.` It is a nice line all right. Get the opposition on the back foot early.
All this comes of course at a time when one of the team`s front line bowlers, Jason Gillespie, was piped off the `HMS Australia` and headed for home with an achilles tendon problem which has seen a new name on the commander`s list of senior personnel. For Gillespie came Nathan Bracken, a left-arm quick from New South Wales. Four years on, what a combative bowler he is.
Only Bracken was not be part of the attack for the opening Super Six game in World Cup 2003 as the title-holders look around at who they are going to face next. Not that it means a lot. It did not need Ponting to point out, either, that with Glenn McGrath, Any Bichel and Brett Lee around, the pace battery was pretty well primed with or without Gillespie. Amazing: four years later, only one out of that attack was left standing.
Sri Lanka had their own pace battery on Saturday. Unfortunately, the ball didn`t swing a lot and that -didn`t help Jayawardene`s cause. Forgotten in the reflective glory of McGrath`s farewell was possibly that of Vaas. Four years ago he was leading wicket-taker with twenty-three and a mention in despatches. This time McGrath is man of the tournament.
What this does is at least point to where South Africa seriously failed in their efforts to beat Australia at their own game in the semi-final.
Their error was to target Australia`s fast bowlers: always a risky venture as McGrath is a skilled operator and others have followed his lead. Bracken and Shaun Tait have developed as bowlers throughout the season.
What is surprising when reading through the post-match comments, this point was not once mentioned by even former captains turned pundits. They worked on what to them the obvious ? poor batting technique.
As the TV commentary is usually turned off to escape some of the more inane comments as there is the impression some have not graduated beyond radio-style delivery, there is no check on what is being said. But one thing that is a giggle and pardon the smile here, Ian Chappell wouldn`t be too bothered at all what Sri Lankan critics think of his comments.
Whether he was appreciated or not as a captain, his ability as a commentator and writer of opinion of the game is delivered with the same frank style he gave as a player. But there are those who don`t appreciate honest Australian (or for that matter New Zealand) straight talking.
What is disturbing is reading some of the xenophobic comments written by some locals about West Indian culture. It shows a certain inferiority complex and is disappointing from those who should know better.
Anyway, while former New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe and match referee for the final on Saturday at least admitted that it was his mistake for the chaotic shambles that allowed the game to drift into a farce it became at the end, Malcolm Speed finally admitted what was written in these columns four weeks ago ? that as a tournament it was flawed and far too long and as such was boring with it. Any fool who has spent time in the Caribbean and tries to work through the maze of such logistics in utilising facilities involving nine countries would have readily explained how defective this arrangement was.
If they want to shorten the tournament to a manageable five weeks, planning should be given to how the Super Eight, or whatever format they have in mind should be run. Rather have two second round groups of four teams to make up eight, with games being played on the same day. This way the top four teams are paired off into semi-finals.
Consistency has always been the level at which teams and players are judged. So, too, if you want to push the point, is technology.
From the moment South African umpire Karl Liebenberg pushed the `dismissal` button at Kingsmead in Durban in November 1992 to signal the first Test line dismissal decision, the debate about technology and its use as an aid has been as contentious as any controversial lbw dismissal.
The object of Liebenberg`s decision was Sachin Tendulkar in India`s first Test against South Africa after the umpire Cyril Mitchley was unsighted and called for a replay. This took more than 30 seconds and don`t forget the cameras for such visuals in those days were placed at midwicket.
Not ideal perhaps, but the technology needed to have fixed line cameras was expensive. There was a South African invention that worked well and from which other technology variations have been developed: hawkeye, snickometre and ball tracking devices.
In 2002, when the International Cricket Council decided to use the Champions Trophy in Colombo as an experiment for lbw and caught behind decisions, Malcolm Speed was asked at a media briefing how long would such decisions take. Slowing down the game further by utilising such methods to signal a dismissal was not ideal. He agreed.
By the end of the tournament, umpires were unhappy how referrals for lbws and catches took as long as forty seconds. In the tight match between South Africa and the West Indies at the SSC, the umpires referred four lbw appeals in the second final over, which left West Indies captain Carl Hooper fuming at the delays as it interfered with strategy.
`It`s not the way to run high profile games,` he complained. `For a start, the adrenaline and urgency you feel on the field in such cases was missing.`
The umpires gave the experiment a bad report card and since then there are many who wondered why. They forget Hooper`s biting comments