Morning. Iâ€™m writing this from the boat in Barbados just a few moments before the start of the Aussie-Sri Lanka contest, a possible dress rehearsal for the final.
Word among the Australians here is that their team will carry on steam rolling the opposition, as long as Hayden and Gilchrist continue to boss the opening exchanges. There is also a train of thought though that a Sri Lankan win might be just what the Aussies need to guard against complacency, probably their greatest threat to another WC win. So, perversely perhaps, if the Aussies do win today, hereâ€™s hoping they win at a canter.
We arrived on Saturday to the good news that Craig McMillanâ€™s all round heroics had sunk the South Africans. Just what was needed to make tomorrowâ€™s clash a belter. Despite a string of average performances, I canâ€™t see anything other than an England win and Iâ€™ll repeat my prediction of a Strauss ton. The locals are rooting for us too, as are the Aussies on the boat, albeit for different reasons. Out of the remaining teams in the tournament, the Boks are the only one who still give them the willies. This baggage dates back to the 438 run chase and an insecurity that no total is too big if Herschelle Gibbs is in the mood.
Finally, just a quick word on Barbados. It’s just beautiful. While the Windies have failed to deliver on the pitch, the benefits to the island are plain to see with widespread infrastructure development including new roads, houses and businesses. Whether this is true for the rest of the Caribbean, I canâ€™t be sure, but even in the four years when I last visited Barbados, the improvements are all too obvious. I can also report that the medical services here are excellent after one of our party fell off the aft deck and sliced his finger by gripping too hard on his punch glass. No doubt a common injury in these parts. And apart from a close shave with a Japanese catamaran, it has been a case of lie back, relax and wait for Tuesday.
Ian Valentine is a freelance journalist, blogging his diary of the World Cup for The Corridor