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Ricky Ponting recently lamented the fact that the Aussie cricket team was downright stuffed due to the excessive amount of travelling and playing they had endured over the past twelve months. He pointed to the side’s final three one-day international games against the West Indies where they were soundly beaten. But fear not, my friends, because now we can see them at their peak; over and over again.

The Disc
The 2003 World Cup of cricket, hosted in South Africa, was full of surprises. Kenya’s charity semi-final birth thanks to a couple of timely forfeits, the host country’s early demise thanks to an obvious lack of true grit on behalf of the player, and Australia’s continued dominance, where they defended their 1999 crown thanks to a superb all-round team effort. Jolly good show, lads!

One Day Wonders - Review Of Australia's Cricket World Cup

Let’s also not forget Shane Warne’s very early exit from the tournament, thanks to his hair-brained mother who gave the man a diuretic which contained a very naughty substance banned by cricket’s governing body. Shame, Shane, the headlines read.

On the “Official” review of Australia’s World Cup triumph we are privy to all the details surrounding the tournament, including all the drama, the excitement and the mammoth sixes hit by Ricky Ponting in the final. Everyone Down Under was excused from doing anything productive the morning after the World Cup final, as almost the entire population gathered in pubs, clubs and lounge rooms to see the Aussie remain undefeated. I walked in to work and didn’t get going until well after lunchtime, having had only a few hours sleep the night before.

The package itself is incredibly slick, even for the high quality productions released by Channel Nine in the past. We get a full rundown of each match, including scorecards, highlights and a quaint little voiceover. No details are glossed over and the footage is top notch. This is sporting dominance at its best, and what better way to see it than on our favourite format.

If you can put up with the Channel Nine commentators doing their usual lacklustre job then this is definitely a worthwhile pickup. You’ll cherish watching the batting brilliance of Ponting, Bevan and Gilchrist and the sheer speed and precision of Lee and McGrath. Then there’s the sprinkling of all-rounders and second-tier players who lifted to help the Aussies to glory; I’m thinking the likes of Symonds (who finally lived up to his potential), Lehmann (how some of those balls take wickets is still beyond me) and Hogg (the most excited fieldsman in cricket history – kind of like a little puppy running around after a tennis ball). Sadly the selectors erred on the side of caution and didn’t allow Steve Waugh a wildcard entry into the squad, but some will say the decision was vindicated by the success of the Australians.

It may not be cricket season but if you’re a fan of Geelong, Hawthorn or the Bulldogs in the AFL then this might help to get you back in the sporting mood. Definitely the slickest cricket package released to date, there’s no doubt so many of you will have been waiting for this disc to relive those memorable moments. Fear not, because this is of the highest quality.

One Day Wonders - Review Of Australia's Cricket World Cup

Video
The first thing you’ll notice is that the visuals are incredibly sharp and vibrant. Sometimes overseas cricket tour coverage can be marred by that “really far away” look, which constantly reminds you that you’re hundreds of miles away and so far out of their time zone it’s not funny. But this transfer looks brilliant, making those pyjama-like uniforms stand out brilliantly among the greens and browns of the field. I’m assuming this footage was lifted straight from the digital broadcast, which was sent around to those well-equipped customers during the tournament if I remember correctly.

The only problem the transfer faces is a slight lag when the camera pans to the boundary (or over it, as is the case when Ricky Ponting was batting). There are instances of aliasing and minor signs of pixilation here and there but really it’s not that big a problem. When the visuals look as vibrant as this I can forgive a few visual nasties on rare occasions. In all, this 1.33:1 presentation is easily the best cricket transfer yet.

Audio
Don’t you hate those stupid horns? You know, the ones that people blow in the grandstand at random intervals just for fun? They’re not fun, although they do point out the relatively accomplished audio track, even for a 2.0 mix. You’ll be able to hear every blast from these things as well as the odd coherent shout from a drunken cricket fan, but only out of the front speakers. Nevertheless, this track does the job and ensures you’ll feel at least closer to the action than you actually are.

Extras
The sole extra on the disc is actually quite a good one. Here we are given a featurette entitled Golden Moments, featuring five of Australia’s best moments from the tournament. There’s Ponting’s mammoth innings in the final, Lehmann’s 28-run over against the hapless Namibia, McGrath’s seven wicket haul in a match, Bichel’s similar bag of scalps and Gilchrist’s tally of six catches in one match. These are great to watch, especially as they cut out most of the down time in between and are just raw highlights strung together.

There are also some notes on each of the matches to look at but I’m thinking this would be for die-hard cricket fans only. Oh yes, and whoever proof-read this DVD should be shot; who the hell is Andrew Gilchrist?

One Day Wonders - Review Of Australia's Cricket World Cup

Overall
This is a great package, especially for those wishing to relive the golden moments of the World Cup as soon as possible. Our cricketers might be worn out from all the playing, but people like me are still looking for quality cricket to watch on DVD. Keep them coming, especially if they are quality productions such as this one.


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