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Gilchrist fashions Australia's VB series triumph

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Last updated on: February 14, 2006 21:38 IST

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Adam Gilchrist was at his brutal best while Simon Katich was a model of composure as both scored centuries in Australia's nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the third and deciding one-day final in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Gilchrist belted 122 off 91 balls while Katich finished unbeaten on 107 as the pair put on a 196-run opening partnership that propelled the world champions past Sri Lanka's total of 266-9 with four and a half overs to spare at the Gabba.

The opening stand was a new record for Australia against Sri Lanka, just 16 days after the pair had put on 191 in a round-robin match at Perth.

Dropped when he was on 20, Gilchrist smashed 13 boundaries and four sixes in his innings and raised his century off only 67 deliveries to break his own record for the fastest ODI hundred by an Australian and put the match out of Sri Lanka's reach.

Gilchrist, who was eventually bowled by off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, had been heavily criticised after losing form midway through the series but returned to his best after having a week's break.

"It's been an interesting series, we've copped some criticism but we've come through with the goods," the wicketkeeper told reporters after the match.

With man of the match Gilchrist in full flow, Katich was content to play the anchor role, chalking up his 50 after his partner was already past 100 and reaching his maiden ODI century off 136 balls.

The Australian captain Ricky Ponting was also content to take a back seat, finishing not out 28 after giving Katich most of the strike and taking a spectacular catch to dismiss Russel Arnold in the penultimate over of Sri Lanka's innings.

"It has been a great series," Ponting said.

"We've been tested at various times during the series but we've managed to bounce back bigger and better each time."

Arnold struck 76 off 71 balls to push the Sri Lankan total past 260 after they had crawled to 107-2 off the first 25 overs but came unstuck when Ponting held a leaping one-handed catch at mid-off while scrambling backwards.


Mahela Jayawardene top-scored for Sri Lanka with 86 off 91 balls and wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara grafted a patient 59 from 85 deliveries but the tourists were unable to post a big enough total after making a slow start to their innings.

The tourists smashed 159 runs off the final 25 overs to finish with a respectable total but paid the price for a slow start that saw them make just 107 off the first 25 overs.

Left-arm fast bowler Nathan Bracken captured three wickets for 44 runs from his 10 overs, while paceman Stuart Clark collected two and Mick Lewis and part-time spinner Michael Clarke snared one each.

All rounder Andrew Symonds also took three catches, two days after making 151 in the second final, and was named player of the series.

"We haven't been pushed to three games for many years and Sri Lanka are a credit to themselves," Symonds said.

The deciding match was necessary after Sri Lanka had stunned the hosts with a 22-run victory in the opening final in Adelaide on Friday before Australia rebounded to score an 167-run win in Sydney on Sunday.

"That goes to show why (they're) the number one team," Sri Lanka skipper Marvan Atapattu said.

"But we have shown our critics... Not many teams have taken the Aussies to three matches so we can leave this country with our heads held high.

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