Gilbert leads the Australian revival

Read the article of nGilbert leads the Australian revival - Benson & Hedges World Series Cup one-day international tournament of the 4th ODI match played between New Zealand and Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney in 14th January 1986.

For months a small New Zealand flag has fluttered from the top of the partially-constructed Clive Churchill stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The flag disappeared from view yesterday and so did New Zealand's dominance over the once hapless Australian cricket team. After being humiliated in recent Test series by New Zealand and India, Australia have rediscovered the joys of winning. Last night they defeated New Zealand by four wickets in their Benson and Hedges World Series Cup match.

The Australians scored their second limited-over victory in three days, prompting their once beleaguered captain, Allan Border, to state this could be the start of a resurgence in Australian cricket.

Australian remained at the top of the WSC table after easily dismissing NZ for a paltry 152 and then reaching their target with four wickets and 4.5 overs to spare. Although there were a few scares the young Australians, on the field and during their stint at bat, showed unity and strong determination to overcome the strong New Zealand team.

This refreshing situation excited Border, who remarked after the game that "it was only a matter of time when it would all come together".
"At the moment things are going well," he said. "If we can get a continuity of staff and build up a rapport during the series, it will obviously build up the confidence of every player. We're just about there," Border said.

While the Australians were beaming, so too were the majority of a sell-out crowd of 36,170 who crammed into the SCG to watch the Australian revival. They had to witness some strange moments before Australia scored the final runs for victory, however.

With Australia needing two runs to win, batsman Steve Waugh flashed at a ball from Richard Hadlee which went through to wicket-keeper Ervin McSweeney. Several of the New Zealand fielders went up in anticipation of a snick but did not appeal for a catch behind. Umpire Bruce Martin momentarily appeared to put his finger up as if to give Waugh out, but quickly dropped his finger to his side.

The New Zealanders looked surprised but still did not appeal, while Hadlee just grinned.
Then a few minutes later the game was interrupted when a streaker, wearing only a green hat, jumped the Hill fence but was cover-tackled by a watchful policeman before he could encroach too far on the field.

Craig McDermott hit the neces- sary single to relieve the tension. There was plenty of blood, fights and arrests in the audience during the night and Australia also had some dogged moments in their run chase.

They were 4-87 but Greg Ritchie (68) and Steve Waugh (19 not out) stopped the jitters with innings expected from quiet achievers.

The Australian bowlers were as much responsible for the win, with all six finding a perfect line and length to frustrate the NZ team into error and strangle their run rate.

While paceman Dave Gilbert won the $1,000 Man-of-the-Match award for taking five wickets, Simon Davis, Craig McDermott and Greg Matthews also performed marvellously.

After opening bowlers McDermott and Davis contained the scoring, Gilbert ripped through the middle order, while Matthews showed spin bowling can be as devastating a weapon as any in one-day cricket. Slow bowling may be regarded as too extravagant for the hurly-burly world of limited-over cricket, but Matthews proved it can be the hardest to score off.

It was Matthews' day. The favourite of the crowd, he was surrounded by ground signs that said "Matthews the miracle man" and "Like wow Matthews wipe out", while women screamed at him as if he were a member of the Beatles.

Just as important was Gilbert's improvement in confidence with a five-wicket haul that included such prized wickets as Richard Hadlee and Jeremy Coney, who scored a good half century but received little support.

"I have been having problems with my run-up," Gilbert said after the match.
"I felt tonight that I was getting back to the way I'd like to be, with more fluency in my run-up. The key to my bowling is rhythm."