Shamik Das

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Haydos dazzles amidst the drizzle

Matthew Hayden plays a cracking stroke through the covers

Antigua, World Cup, Super Eights: Australia 322/6 (50 overs) v West Indies

Matty Hayden completed a hat trick of national records today as he added the highest World Cup innings by an Australian to his record high Aussie ODI and Baggy Green Test scores.

Hayden's 158 can now go alongside his 181 not out against the Kiwis last month and his then world record Test innings of 380 against Zimbabwe four years ago; all this on top of the fastest ever World Cup century - 101 against South Africa at the weekend.

The opener's last five one-day international innings have yielded 529 runs at an average of over 130 and a strike rate of almost 110 - quite a haul for a man who was in the one-day wilderness for 14 months from summer 2005 to autumn last year, missing 27 matches, a man who only clinched his place in the squad with that epic 181 in Hamilton.

Matthew Hayden tucks into a wayward leg-side delivery  Matthew Hayden slaps a delivery square of the wicket all the way to the point boundary  Eyes narrowed, the beetle-browed Matty Hayden is a picture of concentration as he pulls a short ball through midwicket for four

This match is the first to be played at the brand new Sir Vivian Richards stadium in St John's, Antigua, and the Windies legend will have been thrilled at the way Hayden played, especially the manner in which he brought up his 150, smacking Marlon Samuels back over his head for 6.

What was perhaps most impressive about Hayden's innings was the way he stepped up the pace once he'd reached three figures, scoring 58 runs off 32 balls - the last 28 coming from just 12 deliveries prior to his dismissal.

In all the Aussies scored 99 runs off the last ten overs, Mike Hussey (7), Shane Watson (33*) and Brad Hogg (5*) helping Hayden in posting Australia's sixth consecutive one-day score of over 300.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting is caught short by a direct hit from Ramnaresh Sarwan

Earlier having been put in by West Indies the world champions failed to get off to the best of starts, Adam Gilchrist falling for just seven and Ricky Ponting managing only 35 when he was run out by Ramnaresh Sawrwan's superb throw from the deep as Australia struggled to 96 for 2 after 20 overs.

The hosts begin their chase tomorrow, and will have a full 50 overs in which to achive what will be a record World Cup target, hoping to succeed where South Africa failed.


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