Perth: Matthew Hayden used his Baggy Green cap and the black armband he wore in memory of the victims of the Bali bombings to inspire him to the highest individual score in the history of Test cricket on Friday.
The opener’s 380 overhauled Brian Lara’s record of 375 as Australia declared on 735 for six just after tea on the second day of the first Test against Zimbabwe.
All the Australian players wore armbands in memory of the 202 people, including 88 Australians, killed in the Bali bombings on October 12 last year. “Those two things, the black armbands and the Baggy Green just kept me going today,” said Hayden, who had earlier swept past the Australian record of 334 jointly held by Don Bradman and Mark Taylor.
“I hope it is something that will bring some joy to those involved in the Bali tragedy at what must be a difficult time for them.”
Lara rang up two hours after the record from the West Indies to congratulate Hayden and spoke to the Australian in the dressing room. “His sentiments were pretty simple,” Hayden, 31, said of Lara. “He said great things happen to good cricketers, and that he really enjoyed the way we play our game, so he was pleased to see the record go to the Australian side.”
While Mark Taylor famously declared when he levelled Bradman’s mark, Hayden raced past it with barely a thought. “Overtaking Bradman sits uncomfortably, and so it should, but I was never haunted by the record as I’m sure he would have had an enormous amount of respect for anyone who reached it,” he said.
“And we all wear the same Baggy Green.”
Hayden donned his battered headgear in place of his protective helmet in the latter stages of his near two-day innings and said it was hard to express what it meant to him. “I got mine sent in the mail in 1993 and I wore it to bed that night,” he said. “There’s many times I’ve looked at it wondering if I would get back into the Australia team so it is very special to me.”
Relaxing with a bottle of beer in his hand, Hayden said: “We play a unique game in a lot of ways. We enjoy scoring runs quickly, and then love putting sides under pressure.”
Hayden said that at the start of the day, when he resumed with 183, he did not have the record in mind, although he had been aiming at making 300.
Lara’s 375 against England in Antigua nine years ago took 538 balls while Hayden amassed his 380 in just 437 balls, including 11 sixes and 38 fours. (Reuters)