What many people, including me, thought might be a first draft of the World Cup final , turned out to be something considerably less than that as Australia easily defeated an understrength Sri Lanka by 7 wickets in Grenada.
By fielding a team which lacked its spearheads Muralithuran, Vaas and Malinga, only the last of whom was injured, Sri Lanka debased the coinage of the match, turning it an A team (ie B team) or warm up game where one side fields its strongest batting and second string bowling lineups.
This is not to say that Australia would have lost had SL been at full strength, merely that the result is an imperfect guide to the form of the respective teams.
What it does tell us is
1. That the Australian attack is very strong. Nathan Bracken's 9.4 - 19 - 3 -4 was outstanding, while Glenn McGrath 9-1-48- 2 and, once again, Brad Hogg 10 -0-35-2 ( the two top scorers) probed the opposition weaknesses. Even Shaun Tait, who had an off day by his recent standards, still took two middle order wickets while conceding 68 from his 10 overs.
2. The Australian top order batting is ditto. Everyone who batted got a start. Ricky Ponting 66 no/ 80b and Andrew Symonds 63 no/72b were especially effective as they led their team home with 44 balls remaining. ponting's straight drive for 6 to win the game was worth staying awake to see.
3. The Sri Lankan batting, when faced with a top class attack, is brittle. Take away Mahela Jayawardene (62/88b) and Chamara Silva(64/107b)'s 140 partnership for the fourth wicket and the rest contributed 9/86 to the total of 226 in 49.4 overs.
For some light relief see Cricinfo's Andrew Miller's "Irrelevant statistical spot of the day":
Until the start of this match, Tait's career record for ODI batting and fielding was a binary geek's delight. Matches played 11, Innings 1, Not Out 0, Runs 11, Highest Score 11, Average 11.00, Balls faced 10, Strike Rate 110.00, Hundreds 0, Fifties 0, Fours 1, Sixes 1, Catches 1, Stumpings 0. Of course, he's gone and spoiled that for ever by taking part in his 12th match, although for the record, the binary number 1110111111001011000001110 equals 31430158 in standard decimal. Oh dear. For God's sake, bring back Murali and Malinga. We have far too much time on our hands when matches are foregone conclusions ...