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|February 5, 2000||
Extraordinary summerSteve Waugh
And so ends an extraordinary summer of achievement for this Australian team. At the start of this season we could not have dared dream that we'd win all six Tests and then all but one of our one-day internationals, so the fact that we've been able to build up this record is a source of great pride and satisfaction for everyone connected with the Test and one-day squads.
In many ways, our performance last night was the crowning glory on this wonderful season. For most of the one-day series we have been emphasizing the fact that, while we've been winning, we can play better than we have been. This was especially true of our batting, so it was very rewarding to be able to produce as close to the perfect one-day batting performance as I have been involved with in what proved to be the tournament's finale. Every player who went to the wicket continued on the tempo that had been set by the previous batsman; something that is extremely difficult to do in one-day cricket.
Normally, when a new batsman arrives at the crease, he needs time to adjust, but it has been a goal of ours that each new arrival at the wicket be capable of maintaining the momentum. To get 337 from 50 overs against a quality bowling attack, without one player making a big, fast hundred, was a fine team achievement. Bowling-wise, we were satisfied, too, with Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee leading the way as they did in the first final. Glenn really has had the most amazing 12 months, and the most amazing past couple of weeks - with a son being born, being named the Australian Test cricketer of the year and winner of the inaugural Allan Border medal. A five-wicket haul at the SCG iced his season perfectly, and his place in the roll call of truly great Australian pacemen is now assured.
Last night, Shane Lee also did a pretty good job, while Shane Warne stemmed the run flow at an important stage. Over the series I thought our bowlers were consistently outstanding.
Summing up, we really enjoyed ourselves during the finals and got great satisfaction from the way we stuck to our game plan. A very satisfying performance. Although our main focus was on maintaining our very high standards, we were conscious of the fact that a win last night would give us some time off before our New Zealand tour. You don't get much time off in this 21st-century world of cricket, and we certainly haven't been spared any spare time in the past few months. So the next few days days, while only a 'mini-break', will be grabbed enthusiastically.
For the next week, most of the guys will get completely away from cricket. Ricky Ponting, unfortunately, is obliged to work hard on his damaged ankle, in the hope that he might still be available for the first part of our New Zealand tour.
In fact, Dave Misson, our fitness coordinator, has given us all a programme we have to stick to, so there will still be some exercising to do. This is because the first game in New Zealand is on only two days after we get there, so we have to make sure we are primed to go from the very fist ball. But other than that, my plan, at least, will be to enjoy the precious time with my family and do as little connected with cricket as I can possibly do. I will, though, inevitably, think back with great pride on what we've achieved in the past three months. It's been an absolute pleasure to be captain of this Australian side and I'm looking forward to the teams - both Test and one-day - continuing to play positive cricket in the future.
Mail Sports Editor
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