On 16th April 2006, when Jason Gillespie came to the crease as a nightwatchman, no one would have even dreamed that this was going to be an innings which would be written in golden letters in the history of Test cricket. He had just needed to play out the remaining overs of the day, but what it turned out to be was something else entirely.
Gillespie scored 201* with 26 fours and 2 sixes, and Australia ended up winning the game by an innings and 80 runs.
The match was against Bangladesh in Chittagong, and the Australian quick made a memory that he can make several stories out of. Take for example the story when he guided Mike Hussey with some batting advice after their 320-run partnership, which ended with the fall of Hussey on 182.
Gillespie satirically wrote for a column, "I had to keep reining Huss in because when it got difficult (which was most of the time) he kept playing silly shots or going for suicidal singles so he did not have to face the bowling. My calming influence allowed him to get to 180 before the pressure got too much, and he perished. It was a decent knock – a shame he couldn’t go on and get a double century."
He even cracked a joke on Mark Waugh, asking him how he handled batting in the 160s in a Test match, because he himself found it physically and mentally challenging. He then said, "Oh sorry, that’s right, you wouldn’t know" – since Mark Waugh’s highest Test score was 153.
But jokes apart, it's not easy for any player to play 425 balls and stay at the crease for more than 570 minutes. Gillespie had the determination and guts to essay such a marathon innings, and he deserves full credit for that.
Ironically, this was his last Test, which adds his name to the record books for another reason - he is the only player to score a double ton in his last match.Published 18 Feb 2019, 18:10 IST