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03-04-2008, 11:51 PM #1
Quiet end to Gilchrist's long-lasting career
Adam Gilchrist's final international batting performance was so short, the supporters who were a minute late returning from dinner missed it. Instead of going out with a bang, Gilchrist disappeared in three balls and the closest he got to an explosion was when he was crowded by photographers as he tried to exit the field.
Australia's nine-run loss in the second CB Series final marked Gilchrist's retirement at the age of 36. He contributed 2 before playing back and edging Praveen Kumar, finishing with 9619 runs in 287 one-day internationals. During a quiet game by his ultra-high standards, he did not add to his 472 dismissals.
As the Indians celebrated their 2-0 success, Gilchrist hosted a party in the dressing room for family and friends to mark the end. "To the team and all the support staff, it's been a magic ride," he said. "It's not a fairytale ending tonight, but it's been a fairytale career. To be involved with you guys is something I'll hold dear in my heart for the rest of my life."
Ricky Ponting was disappointed the side was unable to send Gilchrist off with a victory. "It's a really sad day as the day has come that I've played my last game with Gilly," he said. "That's a pretty sad moment, especially when it's a losing game as well. We've had so many good memories over the years and shared some amazing times."
With 322 runs in the series, Gilchrist was Australia's best-performed batsman and he left the spectators in Sydney and Melbourne, where he scored half-centuries, with lasting memories. In Perth his home fans were rewarded with an unforgettable 118 against Sri Lanka and it was the highlight of his final one-day campaign.
Gilchrist averaged 32.20 and operated at a strike-rate of 98.17, numbers which hovered near his career returns. Australia will miss his output even more following a summer of inconsistent batting performances and their life without him will begin either in Pakistan at the end of this month or the West Indies in May.
The loss of Brad Hogg, who took 156 wickets in 123 games, will also be significant even though he wasn't used in Brisbane. His final day with the squad was spent running drinks and supplying a pair of shoes for Brett Lee after four fast bowlers were preferred.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo