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Final: Australia v Sri Lanka
Barbados, 28 April 2007

Test Match Special podcast | Blog



WORLD CUP FINAL, BARBADOS:
Australia 281-4 bt Sri Lanka 215-8 by 53 runs

Adam Gilchrist hit a brilliant 72-ball century as Australia completed a World Cup hat-trick with a 53-run victory over Sri Lanka in Barbados.

Gilchrist went on to make 149 as the 1999 and 2003 winners posted a total of 281-4 off 38 overs.

Sri Lanka were given a positive start in reply by Sanath Jayasuriya (63) and Kumar Sangakkara (54).

But the required rate, chasing a rain revised target of 269, was too much and the game ended with Sri Lanka 215-8.

ALL THE ACTION AS IT HAPPENED

By Tom Fordyce

36th over: SL 215-8 - AUSTRALIA ACTUALLY DO WIN THE WORLD CUP THIS TIME, BY 53 RUNS
Symonds bowls the final over at about 25 miles an hour, and it's all over. Properly. Right - I'll try that again - Australia are crowned world champions for the third time in a row. A wonderful triumph for Ricky Ponting's team, and they begin their celebrations all over again. And my word - are they celebrating...

So - that's the World Cup over, in suitably ridiculous fashion. It feels like it's gone on forever - life has become one endless clockwatch. Hats off to Australia, one million thanks for reading and here's hoping Ponts doesn't lose the trophy in the dark.

From Paresh Soni, BBC Sport in Barbados: "People are laughing around me, and an ICC officer looks crestfallen. It says it all."

In our player-of-the-tournament vote, Matthew Hayden has come out on top with 52% of the 4,000-odd votes.

35th over: SL 214-8
No-one knows what is happening in the middle. The TV cameras literally cannot focus - there's not enough light. I think Clarke is bowling at Fernando, but I can't be sure.

34th over: WICKET - Malinga st Gilchrist b Symonds 10, SL 211-8:
Wicket falls

They've started again! The Sri Lankan pair have come back out again, and Ponting is asking Symonds to bowl off-spin because no-one can see the ball. Even the moon has gone behind a cloud. It's so dark that the television cameras can't focus on the pitch. Malinga waves hopefully at what might be the final ball of the over, misses and is stumped by Gilchrist, purely by reaction. Because nothing can ever be simple at the World Cup, they refer the decision to the third umpire. It takes a good minute to get a decision.

2315 BST:This is quite incredible. No-one knows if Australia have officially won. Ponting and his boys are still jumping around hugging, but the umpires are trying to take the stumps back off them. It's almost night out there now too. This is now a farce. All we need is for Steve Bucknor to accidentally drop his trousers or squash a custard pie into Ricky Ponting's face.

2312 BST: Amazingly, despite the fact that the Sri Lankans have left the pitch, the presentation podium is on the pitch and the Aussies are cavorting around waving stumps, the umpires are now claiming that the match is not officially over. They're saying that, if the light improves, Sri Lanka could come back on. I'd like to say I'm making this up...

33rd over: SL 206-7 - BAD LIGHT ENDS PLAY - AUSTRALIA WIN WORLD CUP
The umpires have seen enough - or rather, not seen enough, and it's all over in the strangest circumstances. Australia have won the World Cup for the third time on the bounce, a new record.

32nd over: WICKET - Arnold c Gilchrist b McGrath 1, SL 194-7
McGrath steams in for what could be his last over in international cricket. It's so dark out there the batsmen can barely see each other, let alone the ball. Sure enough, Arnold prods blindly at a short one, sends the ball looping up behind him and Gilchrist dives to take the catch.

31st over: WICKET - Silva b Clarke 21, SL 190-6
Wicket falls

The end is now near - Silva charges Clarke, misses and is clean-bowled. Clarke stands in the middle of the wicket with arms outstretched, and shouts a phrase that rhymes with "Luck off!" at Silva as he passes.

30th over: WICKET - Dilshan run out (McGrath) 14, SL 188-5
Wicket falls

McGrath back on, quite literally now in the twilight of his great career, and as Dilshan tries to scramble a single in the gloom Clarke races in from point, hurls back to the bowler and it's another wicket. Dilshan stumbled mid-pitch as well.

From Paresh Soni, BBC Sport in Barbados: "It is unbelievably dark here. The lights in the Worrell Weekes & Walcott Stand stand out in the general gloom. You have to take your hat off to these brave Sri Lankans - these aren't ideal conditions to bat in and the rain is now coming down again."

29th over: SL 185-4
84 runs needed off 42, with Silva swinging Tait over midwicket for four. Drizzle coming down again, and the light ebbs away further.

28th over: SL 178-4
Bracken to Silva, and the floppy-haired leftie spills a simple caught-and-bowled chance. Dilshan then opens up his stance to flay a four through cover, takes a single and then watches Silva sweep beautifully for another four. Good guts.

27th over: SL 167-4
Okay - here's the scores on the doors, if not on the scoreboard: Sri Lanka need 102 to win off nine overs, should there be no more rain. Silva does his best with a hoicked six off Clarke, but the ball's dying on the pitch, and it's getting darker and darker by the second.

26th over: WICKET - Jayawardene lbw b Watson 19, SL 156-4
After that latest crazy calculation, Sri Lanka now need 12 an over. Hold on - they've changed it again - the target is now 269. And because the slot on the main scoreboard which is supposed to show the D-l target has gone blank, Sri Lanka have no idea what they are meant to be chasing. Madness. Amongst all the confusion, Watson hits Jayawardene on the pad and Bucknor raises his finger. That was missing leg stump too, by an absolute mile. This is a shocking way for it all to end - in semi-darkness, with no-one knowing what Sri Lanka need to score.

2227 BSTThe players are back out in the semi-darkness. Still no D-L news, but batting out there is now incredibly hard. Hold on - just heard that they've lost two overs, but have to get the same target. Work that one out.

2222 BSTThe rain has eased off, the umpires are out there again and the covers are coming off. No news yet on the Duck-Lew - will keep you posted.

25th over: SL 149-3
The rain's really quite heavy now, and Australia take as much time as they can drying the ball and slowly placing small handfuls of sawdust on the footmarks. Tait's first ball dies on the soggy pitch, and when Silva tries to run down the pitch for a single he slips. At last the umpires act, and the players wander off as the covers come on. This is looking grim for Sri Lanka - it's very dark out there, so even if the rain clears and they're anywhere near the D-L par score - which they're not at the moment - they're going to find it incredibly hard batting out there. The pitch took a soaking, the ball's not coming on to the bat and they've got two newish batsmen at the crease.

24th over: SL 148-3
Here comes the rain - it's only light drizzle at the moment, but it's mighty grey overhead. The light's fading too. McGrath comes back on, miserly as ever. Sri Lanka would need to be on 169 on Duckworth-Lewis, so in effect they're chasing two totals at the moment - and that's completely ruined their plan to gradually accelerate through the innings.

23rd over: WICKET - Jayasuriya b Clarke 63, SL 145-3
Wicket falls

Ponting brings on Michael Clarke for some tidy dartage, clearly aware of the Duckworth-Lewis scenario - and he is cockahoop when Jayas charges a straight one, misses and is bowled. The ball kept very low, and the Aussies are beside themselves. Devastation for Sri Lanka.

22nd over: SL 139-2
Great shot from Jayaw, loft-sweeping Hogg behind point for a lovely four. But the run-rate inches up to 8.9 an over, and grey clouds are building. Deep breaths all round.

21st over: SL 131-2
It's the Jaya and Jaya show, and skipper Jayaw is off the mark straight away. Jayas then pulls Watson fine past the tumbling Tait for four. We'll definitely have a result today now that we've inched past the 20-over mark - but Sri Lanka are well behind on Duckworth-Lewis - they'd need to be on 150 at this point.

20th over: WICKET - Sangakkara c Ponting b Hogg 54, SL 123-2
Wicket falls

Hogg strikes, and Sanga will feel sick - the ball after driving wonderfully through cover for four, he mis-hits a pull off a short one straight down Ponting's throat at midwicket. Big, big blow for Sri Lanka.

19th over: SL 117-1
Watson continues, but with the powerplay over he has enough men sweeping on the midwicket and cover boundaries to keep him decent.

From Ben Ramsbottom, TMS inbox: "There I was mocking Terry Rhodes and the optimistic slant I was sure he would take on this match - and now Sri Lanka (praise the Lord) have gone and rammed it back down my throat! Terry - please forgive me for doubting."

18th over: SL 110-1
That's 50

Here comes the clean-cut menace that is Brad Hogg. Jaya goes to his 50 - off 51 balls - with a late cut for two, but Hogg's doosra is working well and he tucks them up for the final three balls. If there is another rain-break, at the 20 overs stage, Sri Lanka would need to be on 132-1 to be ahead on Duckworth-Lewis. I won't pretend I worked that one out myself.

17th over: SL 106-1
This is interesting - it's started to rain, but the umpires want them to stay on. Don't forget we need 20 overs in the Sri Lankan innings to make this a game. At the same time as the air is full of rain, the sun is also shining brightly, which might help explain the umpires' confusion.

16th over: SL 102-1
Now it's Tait's turn to throw himself onto the cannons, and Sanga cracks him past point for another beauty. The luck is now going Sri Lanka's way, too, as two miscued shots fall just over the Aussie inner circle. We've got a game on here...

From BBC Sport's Paresh Soni in Barbados: "This is the best atmosphere of the day - if not the tournament. The neutrals are loving this as much as the Sri Lankans, but you get the feeling something will have to give soon if they keep going after the bowling like this."

15th over: SL 93-1
Sanga's suddenly found his form - he creams the previously-unplayable Bracken behind point for a lovely four and then smacks him between midwicket and mid-on for two. At the same stage in their innings, Australia were 95-0. Interesting, non?

14th over: SL 82-1
Sanga's clearly listening - he charges McGrath and hammers him way over midwicket for a massive six. With McGrath still cursing, he drives him elegantly through cover for four - and when McGrath drops short, hooks him for four more. You wouldn't believe how many neutrals are cheering on Sri Lanka here - Barbados is suddenly alive.

13th over: SL 66-1
With the second powerplay in place and Watson trundling in, this is surely Acceleration O'Clock. Bong - Jaya smashes Watson back over his head for four. Bong - he clouts to the same place off the back foot. Bong - he goes high over cover for another. More - way more - of that needed now.

12th over: SL 53-1
Like a green-and-gold boa constrictor, McGrath is squeezing the life out of the Sri Lankan innings. Sanga can't time it for the life of him, either. 8.8 needed per over, for another 26 overs. Ouch.

11th over: SL 51-1
That's more like it - Jaya leans back to Watson and slashes him behind point for a wristy-trademark four. Ponts then dives at a drive, only half-stops it and winces with finger pain. He waves for the physio, and on sprints a can-waving physio.

10th over: SL 42-1
McGrath again, and once again he's treated with extreme caution. The only possible angle for SL optimism I can find here is that, at the same stage of their innings, Australia were only 46-0. Mind you, they then started lashing out at 14 an over.

9th over: SL 41-1
Shane Watson is thrown the ball by Ponts, and we lean forward expecting an all-out assualt. Instead, Sanga tickles a two and then treats the remaining five with the utmost caution. Two off the over - what's the Sri Lanka gameplan here? 8.4 runs needed per over.

8th over: SL 39-1
Here comes Pidge - the old stager in his final ever match for Australia. Eyeing him up is his fellow 37-year-old Jaya, and there's mutual respect as they stare each other down. McGrath 's getting some movement already, and Jaya blocks and leaves before scurrying a two.

7th over: SL 36-1
Bracks has Sanga in all sorts, probing away like a suspicious customs officer. Just two singles off the over, and you don't need me to tell you that thatain't quite good enough. McGrath loosening up, by the way.

6th over: SL 34-1
... and don't think Jaya hasn't noticed. He climbs into the straying Tait three times, blasting him high over cover for four, cutting over point for another and then top-edging over the two slips for one more. Sanga then escapes when a top-edge of his own is spilt by the sprawling Watson at third man.

5th over: SL 18-1
That hasn't helped things - Bracken ties Sanga up with a withering line of away-dippers, and it's a maiden. The required run-rate is climbing to almost eight an over...

4th over: SL 18-1
Tait races in at Sangakkara, and the new man creams a delightful glide past point for four. The pace ratchets up to 94mph, and Sanga can only hop into a steepler to take a late single.

From Pete in Worcester, TMS inbox: "The fatal flaw in Anand's argument lies of course in the fact that it was against England."

3rd over: WICKET - Tharanga c Gilchrist b Bracken 6, SL 7-1
Wicket falls

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. Tharanga chases an away-swinger and man-of-the-match Gilchrist takes the simplest snag. Anyone still believe that Australia aren't going to win this?

2nd over: SL 7-0
It's like a different game out there - Tait's swinging it too, dipping it in at 90 mph. What's happened in the last 15 minutes?

1st over: SL 5-0
Here we go then. What can Jayasuriya and Tharanga make of the run chase? Just in case you didn't know, Sri Lanka need to score 7.42 per over. Thara slaps Bracken's first for four just over point, but the ball swung alarmingly. That didn't happen once in the entire Australian innings.

From Anand, TMS inbox: "In the Eng-SL match played at Leeds on 1st July 2006, England scored 321 in 50 overs. In reply, SL scored 322 in 37.3 overs - Sanath/Tharanga put on 281 for the 1st wicket in 31.5 overs. So, I believe SL can do it today."

AUSTRALIA INNINGS

38th over: Aus 281-4
Fernando, flayed all day, trudges in for the final over - and he does a good job, spearing in two yorkers and almost fooling Clarke with a slower one. Symonds finishes 23 not out, Clarke 8. But it was all about the Gillie show today...

37th over: Aus 272-4
Interesting chat from Aleem Dar - having warned Clarke about running on the pitch when he first arrived at the pitch, he then disallows a run when Clarke goes straight across the track for a single. Clarke is staggered.

37th over: WICKET - Watson b Malinga 3, Aus 266-4
Wicket falls

Watson, also promoted up the order with instructions to slap and mow, tries a hugely ambitious sweep against the fiery yorker of Malinga and is cleaned up. Limited celebrations from Sri Lanka.

36th over: WICKET - Ponting run out (Jayawardene) 37, Aus 261-3
Wicket falls

A great throw from the skipper at extra cover does for his opposite number as Symonds calls for a why-not single.

35th over: Aus 257-2
Symonds slashes at Malinga and gets a thick outside edge for four. The Aussies asked for the ball to be changed, and it's completely monkeyed with Malinga's chances of reverse-swinging it. The only swinging being done is by Ponto, who batters Malinga high over long-on for a massive, effortless six.

34th over: Aus 243-2
Symonds tries a Badgeresque reverser with no success, and then hammers straight for his first four. The scoring rate's plummeted to a mere seven an over - they'll be quaking in their boots in the Aussie dresing-room.

33rd over: Aus 237-2
All the luck has gone Australia's way today - Symonds inside-edges Fernando just past his stumps, before Ponting outside-edges just past his own off-stump and 'keeper Sanga. On the Aussie balcony, Gilchrist is tucking into a bowl of fruit salad with relish. With enthusiasm, I mean - the fruit salad is colourful but unadorned.

32nd over: Aus 231-2
Andrew Symonds strides in, promoted up the order to carry out additional boffage. Jayasuriya twirls away, and there are just four singles - sweet, albeit small, relief for Sri Lanka.

From Simon Rafuse in France, TMS inbox: "The Sri Lankans are going to need an act of God to make a game of this. At least a hand of God. Hmmm... Can Maradona bat, or is he still in rehab?"

31st over: WICKET - Gilchrist c Silva b Fernando 149, Aus 224-2
Wicket falls

It's over at last - Fernando fools him with a bouncer, Gilchrist top-edges and Silva takes the steepler at mid-on. What an innings - the highest-ever in a World Cup final, off 104 balls with 13 fours and eight sixes, and a quite brutal destruction of Sri Lanka's hopes.

30th over: Aus 222-1
Singles aplenty off Murali, who's getting nothing out of the pitch except a whole heap of grief.

From Gareth Jones, TMS inbox: "If Sri Lanka aren't very tidy in the last ten overs, this could end up being a cricket score."

29th over: Aus 216-1
did I mention that this was incredible? Gilchrist slog-sweeps Jaya again for another six - his eighth, which ties the record number ever hit in a World Cup final - a record held by his batting partner and skipper today, Senor Pontucio. Not content with that, he sweeps finer for four more. 146 off 99 balls, and that double-ton is very much on.

From Peter Adams in Brisbane, TMS inbox: "I live in the same street as Matthew Hayden, and I see him walking. It's inaccurate to call him 'Hulk': he's only twice as tall as me, and three times as wide."

28th over: Aus 203-1
Gilchrist mows against against Murali and sends the ball spiralling out to the wide long-on boundary - where it drops right between the two in-rushing fielders. That takes his to 135. He can't get the first ever one-day double-ton, can he? Or can he?

27th over: Aus 194-1
There you go - that's six number seven from Gilchrist, heaved over square leg off Jayasuriya. The run-rate's still over seven an over, and you can't move in the stands for cavorting Aussies.

26th over: Aus 186-1
Great over from Murali for zero reward - Gillie edges him just past a diving Jayawardene at slip before Ponts does exactly the same off the next ball. Nothing going right for Jaya's crew.

25th over: Aus 180-1
Jayawardene turns to Jayasuriya, and the old campaigner squeezes the brakes just a little. Not quite sure why Dilshan got thrown the ball before him, but there you go.

24th over: Aus 176-1
In chomps Ponting, eyes slitted, jaws working overtime. Vaas finally gets some wobble through the air - a little reverse as the battered ball softens up. What do we reckon Australia can score here - 280? 300?

From Dan Lynch, TMS inbox: "Can Gillie pick out some lottery numbers for me? It seems he can do no wrong..."

23rd over: WICKET - Hayden c Jayawardene 38, Aus 172-1
Wicket falls

Finally, the breakthrough comes - and rightly it's Hayden who goes, with another mis-hit finally falling near a fielder. Jaya takes an excellent leaping catch at extra cover. Wonder if Hulk has ever scored a lower percentage of the runs in a partnership like that.

22nd over: Aus 163-0
It's all falling apart for Sri Lanka. Vaas drops short and Gilchrist pulls with contempt for a one-bounce four over midwicket. Vaas then strays down leg, Sanga standing up can't get there and it's five wides. The same delivery the next ball is pullled fine by Gilchrist for four more. This is incredible.

21st over: Aus 149-0
He's reached 100

Gilchrist drives Malinga straight - and that's his ton, off a mere 72 balls. That's the fastest century ever hit in a World Cup final, and the joint third-fastest in World Cups overall. Eight fours, six sixes. Sensational innings - he's massacred what everyone thoguht was the best attack in the tournament, and grabbed complete control of the match.

20th over: Aus 137-0
Vaas on again, and Hayden gets lucky again - bottom-edging the slower one just past Sanga's gloves. To give a measure of his scratchiness, he's scored only 31 of Australia's total. Then again, when your partner's batting as Gilchrist is, who cares?

19th over: Aus 135-0
This is now the biggest opening partnership in a World Cup final, and there's no sign of it coming to an end so far. Hayden, in the streakiest innings he's ever played, edges Fernando for four and then Gilchrist does the same. Fernando's gone for 56 off his five overs, and he looks like he's about to throw up.

18th over: Aus 122-0
This is brutal, and it's happening to Murali too - Gilchrist goes down on one knee and sweeps majestically for his sixth six. The run-rate is at almost seven an over, and there's still another powerplay to come. Gulp...

17th over: Aus 112-0
Fernando is having an absolute stinker - whatever he tries, Gilchrist smashes him away with gleeful abandon. He goes wide of long-off with a low, skimming six and then drives back down the ground for four more. 14 more off the over, and Gillie's rattled on to 80 off just 58 balls.

16th over: Aus 98-0
Murali skipping in, and Gilchrist plays him with ease. Hayden, by contrast, doesn't know what's going on - it's like watching an enormous tank trying to reverse-park into a suburban garage.

15th over: Aus 95-0
This is all going horribly wrong for Sri Lanka, and horribly right for Australia - Gilchrist strides down the track to Dilshan and belts two wondrous sixes way, way over long-off. Tough to see where a wicket's going to come from here, unless the currently-clueless Hulk gets himself out.

14th over: Aus 76-0
That's 50

More Murali, and that's Gillie's half-century, off a mere 43 balls - four fours and two sixes. Remarkably, that's his third successive World Cup final 50. Looks bang back in form, too.

13th over: Aus 69-0
Tillakaratne Dilshan on for his gentle twirlers, and he's worked away comfortably. Ponting winning the toss looks more and more importnat with every over that goes by.

12th over: Aus 65-0
Jayawardene, desperate to stop the rapidly-spreading rot, decides to hit the Murali button already. The great man starts well, using his off-spinner against the lefties to devilish effect. Wickets and brakes needed still.

From BBC Sport's Martin Gough in Barbados: "Huge shouts of 'no ball' from the Aussies in the party stand as Murali delivers. From the way he has started, he could make them look very silly."

11th over: Aus 62-0
Gilchrist wants this over in time for tea - he smashes Fernando past square leg for one four, rockets one back past him for another and then creams a monstrous deep into the stand on the long-on boundary. Trouble for Sri Lanka - the pitch is a beauty to bat on, the sun is shining and Gillie is making bales of hay.

10th over: Aus 46-0
Chaminda back on as Malinga is saved for later dramas, and Hulk looks in bizarrely awful nick - he slaps angrily at a wider one and gets a lucky two looped over cover, and then drives uppishly to mid-on. All muscle and no timing at the mo. That's the fewest runs Australia have scored off the first 10 overs of an innings all World Cup long.

9th over: Aus 43-0
Gilchrist attacks again, and this time it's Fernando on the end of his big stick - firstly with a half-hit pull for two, and then with a lofted drive over mid-off. Gillie's raced to 31 off 27 balls; Hayden's scratching on 11.

8th over: Aus 35-0
Gilchrist is doing it all for Australia, tickling off his pads again for a sprinted two and then pushing past midwicket for a single. Hayden still can't deal with Malinga, and he's lost the middle of his bat too.

7th over: Aus 32-0
Vaas takes a blow after his lack of joy, and Fernando bustles in with bouffant bouncing. Gilie takes his customary single, leaving Hayden scratching around in increasingly frustrated fashion. On the last ball of the over, he plants a massive foot down the wicket and clouts in ugly fashion over wide mid-on for a horrible mis-hit of a four. Not enjoying this, The Hulk...

6th over: Aus 27-0
Jayawardene could do with two Malingas at the mo - another tremendous over of rapidity and bounce pins Hayden down after Gilchrist flicks a single to leg. Just three runs off his three overs so far, and The Hulk grows restless.

5th over: Aus 26-0
Gillie goes again against Vaas, licking his lips after tucking into his previous over. Vaas is still looking for non-existent swing, and that means he's starting the ball on middle-and-leg - and Gillie happily flicks him fine for four. Hulk's not finding things so easy - marooned on 2 off 15 balls, without a run for 11, he swipes at a wider one and gets a meaty outside edge over point for four. His chest inflates with relief.

4th over: Aus 16-0
Beautiful from Malinga, and Hayden can't get the ball off the square - maiden over. Malinga's smiling as he starts his run-up each ball, and the mighty-shouldered Hulk looks uncomfortable.

3rd over: Aus 16-0
Smasheroo! Gillie decides his eye is and goes after Vaas with a furious anger, flicking a four high over square leg and then cracking a mighty six way over long-on off a ball that was pretty close to decent. No dangers at all in the pitch, but plenty in Gillie's swishing blade.

2nd over: Aus 4-0
Good start from Malinga - fast, full and threatening. Single apiece to the batsmen, pushed to midwicket. Weather update: keep your fingers crossed, but it's pretty blue up above. Could be okay for a decent time, I'd say.

1st over: Aus 2-0
Vaas opens out, and ominously for Sri Lanka there is zero swing. Not a nibble. Each batsman gets off the mark with a tuck off the pads to deep square leg. Raucous cheers from the crowd, giddy with excitement at actually watching some cricket.

From Michael, TMS inbox: "Re Paul - I had this the other day. It's kedge, apparent a small anchor used to steer ships."

1713 BST: Sing hosannas - here come the teams! Gilchrist and Hayden jog down the pavillion steps, windmilling their arms with meaty intent.

From Andre Kueh, TMS inbox: "Re Paul in Las Palmas: could 'wedge' possibly be the answer?"

1707 BST: Vote update: according to you, Sri Lanka's win over Australia in 1996 was the best World Cup final ever. It received 53% of more than 3,000 votes cast, with the 1983 final receiving 23 %, the 1987 final 13% and the 1975 final 12%

1701 BST: A little more detail for you on the repercussions of the reduction in overs: three bowlers can bowl eight overs and two bowlers seven, while the third powerplay has been ditched.

From Paul in Las Palmas, TMS inbox: "14 Across: The clue is 'Small holdfast'. 5 letters. Something - E - Something - G - Something. Anybody know the answer? I'm stumped. (No pun intended)."

1649 BST: Breaking news - the match has been reduced to 38 overs per side, and should begin at 1715 GMT - a mere 26 minutes' time. It's incredibly muggy out there, and Chaminda Vaas must be licking his lips. Wonder if Ponts is as happy with his decision to bat as he was two hours ago. Little reminider that we still need to see 20 overs per side minimum to get an official result.

1641 BST: Hang on - it's stopped raining! And the covers are coming off. Don't get too excited - we've been here before - but blue skies are visible...

1629 BST: While we sit here watching the rain lash down, my esteemed colleague Ben Dirs is two days into his golf jolly, feet up on some clubhouse balcony, up to his elbows in cold lager and snouts. It's technically impossible to type through gritted teeth, but I'm doing my best.

From Andrew Cude, TMS inbox: "Am I the only one who hopes it lashes down all day today so they've got to play the game tomorrow? The missus is going to make me turn the TV over tonight for Dr Who and that abominable Joseph programme. Tomorrow I'll be free to watch every ball..."

1620 BST: It's now whacking it down. Official. We're almost at the puddles-on-the-outfield stage, and then we're in real trouble. Anyone got a crossword?

From Ian Trickett, TMS inbox: "I'm at the ground, in a wet gold sheikh's outfit, trying to remember the Duckworth-Lewis rules - but my rum and Cokes are not letting me recollect. Any idea what they are?"

1610 BST: After thumbing of the rulebook, I can tell you this: if we haven't had any play at all by 1915 BST, they'll sack it off today and start afresh on Sunday. The garden centre/beer garden will have to wait.

From Brian Farrar, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, TMS inbox: "To while away the time, how about a game of I Spy? I'll start. I Spy with my little eye something beginning with 'R'."

1557 BST: Still. Raining. Yawn.

From Paul Cavers in Edinburgh, TMS inbox: "Instead of over-by-over commentary of an old match, during the rain delay why not give us a sing-along song in the style of Cliff at Wimbledon?"

Funnily enough, an ex-girlfriend did once compare my vocal style to that of Sir Cliff. The relationship ended shortly afterwards.

1539 BST: Scratch that - they're back on again. Sigh.

1536 BST: Yo-yo update: the covers are coming off again, and the sun's shining. Work that one out. Umpires' inspection expected soon.

From Raghu, TMS inbox: "Greetings from Boston, USA. While we all wait for the rain to clear, why don't you do a ball-by-ball commentary of an old match, in the same way they show an old match on the TV?"

I like it. Send me your suggestions for which match you'd like, and I'll get busy.

1520 BST: Just in case you're panicking, the only way we won't get a result today is if neither side is able to complete at least 20 overs of their innings. In that case, we'll all be back tomorrow. If it's still raining then, the two sides will share the trophy. Rubbish notion, that.

From Rod Clarke, TMS inbox: "Just a note from the 100,000 or so prisoners and staff in the UK watching and listening, all anticipating a loss for the Aussies."

You've got to be liking the irony of that, no? A load of convicts wanting Australia to lose. Tremendous.

1511 BST: It's now lashing it down again, Gut-rot. No way we're going to start at 1515 BST, and there'll almost certainly be a reduction in overs now. The break between innings has already been cut to just 10 minutes - thanks for that. Inhaled sandwiches it is again, then.

From BBC Sport's Paresh Soni at the Kensington Oval: "It's very murky here. Vaas will be rubbing his hands at the chance to bowl to bully boy Hayden."

1506 BST: Alas and alack - here comes the rain again, falling on our heads like a memory, falling on our heads like a new emotion...

1502 BST - from BBC Sport's Paresh Soni at the Kensington Oval: "A huge number of England fans are here. Of course, they will be rooting for their Aussie friends..."

1454 BST: Here come the skippers for the toss... and Ricky Ponting has called "heads" correctly. "We'll have a bat, mate," he says. Mahela Jayawardene admits he would have batted too - but says that the dicey weather has left him happy to bat second too. That's confidence for you.

1446 BST: The sun's out! And the covers off! Toss now due for 1450 BST, start for 1515 BST.

1438 BST:Woe is us - there's more drizzle coming down, and the covers are back on. Light covers only, though. Remain optimistic, my plucky friends.

From Adam in Nottingham, TMS inbox: "If this is the last game of the tournament, does that mean you can go home and shower Tom?"

The World Cup's been going on so long I can't actually remember where I live, Adam. And if I do find the right front door, no-one there will recognise anyway. Not with this Crusoe-style beard and straggly hair.

1428 BST:Righty - whispers from the inner sanctum tell me that they hope to have the toss at 1440 BST. So in 12 minutes time, if you like to be patronised.

1415 BST:The rain's eased, and the Sri Lankan team are warming up on the outfield. Murali's chucking a rugby ball around - look, you're allowed to chuck in rugby - clearly waiting for Glenn McGrath to wander past with his size 11s.

From Terence Hackett, TMS inbox: "Greetings from Negombo, Sri Lanka. I'm off with my Sri Lankan wife's family to watch the match on a giant screen on the beach. I can hear the horns and fireworks already."

1405 BST: We've been running a vote for the past couple of hours asking who you think will win the final. Out of more than 3,000 votes, 55% reckon Sri Lanka will win, with 41% choosing Australia. Could that have anything to do with the fact that most Australians are still in bed? Oh yeah - 4% think the game will end in a tie. I'm saying nothing.

1400 BST - from BBC Sport's Paresh Soni at the Kensington Oval: "This could be a frustrating day. The rain stopped but there is now some light drizzle again - and there are dark clouds to my right. Light showers were predicted. Let's hope they don't ruin what could be a tremendous game. On the other hand, having witnessed so many dire encounters in this marathon tournament, I would not be surprised to see another desperately one-sided affair. But, you never know, Australia might put up a fight..."

1355 BST: Inside chat from the dressing-rooms: both teams are likely to be unchanged from the semis. That means Fernando should keep his place, rather than Maharoof coming back in as we were told on Friday.

1346 BST - from BBC Sport's Paresh Soni at the Kensington Oval: "It's tipping down with rain - but the same happened around the same time yesterday and passed quickly enough. The atmosphere here is already terrific. This is my first World Cup final and, despite being a sceptic of the one-day game, this is just fantastic."

1343 BST: Rub your hands with glee - it's the final! The actual World Cup final!

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