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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 April 2007, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Fans cheer Australia's cricket juggernaut
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney

Mark Pemberton
Mark Pemberton says the Australians don't like to lose

The cricket World Cup may have been boring, predictable and too long-winded for many fans but Australia is savouring another sporting milestone.

"They did it really easily," said Mark Pemberton, a taxi driver in Sydney. "They were right on top of their game and everybody played well."

"It was one-sided and the end of the game was like playing backyard cricket in the dark when you were a kid," he says.

Cricket is Australia's national sport.

Most people would recognise Shane Warne ahead of the country's political leaders.

Ricky Ponting's men have been untouchable in the Caribbean. Many supporters have even moaned about the lack of competition.

Boring and predictable?

"We win all the time," lamented 19-year-old student Adam Chisholm. "It's a bit hard to watch sometimes because you think 'who's going to beat us?' and no-one usually does."

Certainly not in this World Cup.

The Aussies have now won the trophy three times in a row. But boring and predictable? Try telling that to some Aussie fans.

Seventeen-year-old Pascale Roberts does not care that Australia's cricket juggernaut has crushed all opposition with considerable ease.

We're very happy that we've won in the end although my husband's English so he has split loyalties
Kerry Roberts

"Australia has played really well," Pascale said. "It was good to see them doing so well. It's been great.

"My boyfriend loves it, so I've been watching it with him. I stayed up to watch the final but it was delayed so I went to bed."

Mum Kerry is also chuffed with the result. "We're very happy that we've won in the end although my husband's English so he has split loyalties," she said.

Again, there are complaints that the competition had gone on and on and on.

"It's been too long," Kerry Roberts says. "I think people have lost interest because it's dragged on such a long time."

Short-changed fans

Even some of Australia's newspapers - known for their partisan support of national teams - seem relieved the tournament is finally over.

"Fitting finale for farcical World Cup" chirps a headline in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The standard's been a real hotchpotch. It's been all over the place
Cricket fan Ian

The paper said Australia's win "was sealed in complete darkness in a farcical finish to a tournament that has taken organisational mayhem to new levels."

Fans too feel somewhat short-changed by an event that's been overshadowed by the death of Bob Woolmer.

Pascale and Kerry Roberts
Pascale and mum Kerry have been watching the cup

"I've enjoyed aspects of it but overall it's not been good," said Ian, an expatriate New Zealander. "The standard's been a real hotchpotch. It's been all over the place."

"The Aussies have had it pretty much their own way. They love their cricket and they love coming out on top. They've got the depth and they've always had that, which saddens me being a Kiwi because I do like to see the Aussies get thrashed," he said.

This marathon event has taken its toll on legions of bleary-eyed fans across Australia who stayed up through the night to watch their team's 53-run victory.

"I'm happy but I'm so tired I can't even think straight," mumbled Stan East.

He explained that he enjoyed so little sleep after watching the final that he had forgotten it was his wife's birthday. It can be a tough life being a dedicated fan.

One minute you are celebrating World Cup glory with a jig in the living room and the next you are in the doghouse.

It's in our blood and we hate losing
Mark Pemberton

Still, Stan should have things straightened out in time for the next World Cup.

Bowling legend Glenn McGrath will not be there. Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist probably won't be either, but such is the depth of talent that the Australians will move forward with their customary swagger.

So why are the Aussies so dominant and so just good at cricket?

"It's just a game that we love and we've been playing it a long time," explained taxi driver Mark Pemberton.

"It's in our blood and we hate losing."


SEE ALSO
World Cup final photos
28 Apr 07 |  Cricket

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