Aussies’ 12- year un­beaten run comes to an end in Sri Lanka

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

FEISTY opener Brad Haddin was em­broiled in a heated al­ter­ca­tion with Pak­istan play­ers as Aus­tralia’s in­cred­i­ble 34-match World Cup un­beaten streak fi­nally came to an end last night.

The in-form Pak­ista­nis gave the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons a timely wake-up call in their fi­nal group game, win­ning by four wick­ets at the R. Pre­madasa Sta­dium af­ter rolling Aus­tralia for 176 in the 47th over.

B r e t t L e e ( 4 - 2 8 ) b o w l e d mag­nif­i­cently to give Aus­tralia hope, but rookie No. 3 Asad Shafiq ( 46) and 20-year-old prodigy Umar A k m a l ( 4 4 n o ) h e l p e d s t e e r Pak­istan home with nine overs to spare.

The de­feat was a costly one for the Aus­tralians, who will face a s u d d e n - d e a t h q u a r t e r - f i n a l against In­dia in Ahmedabad if the pow­er­house host coun­try beats the West Indies as ex­pected overnight.

Aus­tralia hadn’t been beaten at the World Cup since a 10-run loss to Pak­istan in the 1999 tour­na­ment and the same nation re­turned to snap the re­mark­able run.

But the con­test fea­tured some in­trigu­ing sub-plots head­lined by Haddin’s ver­bal spat with You­nis Khan and strug­gling skip­per Ricky Ponting’s con­tin­u­ing woes with the bat.

Just 24 hours af­ter re­ceiv­ing the back­ing of se­lec­tion boss Andrew Hilditch to play on af­ter the World Cup, Ponting again failed to con­vert a promis­ing start, fall­ing for 19 af­ter snick­ing a ball to con­tro­ver­sial glove­man Kam­ran Ak­mal.

And Ponting’s dis­missal ig­nited a fiery ri­poste from Haddin, who ap­peared to make con­tact with ri­val Khan as the pair ar­gued over P a k i s t a n ’ s d e c i s i o n t o r e f e r Ak­mal’s catch to the video um­pire.

Wick­et­keeper Haddin had voiced hi s d i s p l e a s ur e a f t e r Ak­mal un­suc­cess­fully ap­pealed for a caught be­hind de­ci­sion on Ponting, prompt­ing the Pak­istan camp to send the mat­ter up­stairs.

As the teams awaited a ver­dict, Haddin and Khan con­tin­ued their blaz­ing row as Pak­istan play­ers cir­cled the Aus­tralian glove­man.

When the dust set­tled, re­plays showed Ponting got a healthy edge to Mo­ham­mad Hafeez’s de­liv­ery, vin­di­cat­ing Pak­istan’s de­ci­sion to re­fer the in­ci­dent.

The more vex­ing concern for Aus­tralian cricket, how­ever, is the form of their great­est bats­man since Brad­man.

Ar­riv­ing at the crease at 1-12 in the fifth over, Ponting had the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to craft a big in­nings but he was left to rue an­other frus­trat­ing dis­missal.

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