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Matthew Hayden hits 380 against Zimbabwe

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Last updated on 10 Oct 2023 | 04:30 AM
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Matthew Hayden hits 380 against Zimbabwe

By the time Hayden eventually got out to Gripper he had hit 38 boundaries and 11 sixes to get to 380, thus breaking Brian Lara’s then-highest Test score of 375 runs against England

Former Zimbabwe legend Heath Streak made the worst decision of his life when he opted to field after winning the toss against Australia at Perth. The batting-friendly surface was just what an in-from Matthew Hayden needed to capitalize on his superior form, and the poor Zimbabweans had to bear the brunt. 

Looking back at the game, Zimbabwean all-rounder Trevor Gripper had stated, “Amazingly, we won the toss and decided to field! I’m not sure I’ve forgiven Heath Streak, to be honest,” while writing a column for Wisden. 

“Obviously. with the benefit of hindsight, it was a crazy idea, but at the time there was some logic. We had done a bit of research, and it was a slower wicket than you normally get at Perth. We thought that would suit our bowlers…”

However, it didn’t matter a bit to the fearsome Australian side of 2003. They had just won the 2002 Ashes 4-1 with their bulky opener in unreal form, where Hayden scored three centuries and tallied 495 runs in five Tests. He had also scored two centuries against West Indies, two series prior to their encounter with Zimbabwe.

Having failed to replace Mark Waugh for the better part of the 1990s, Hayden was finally in form and he wasn’t letting it go at any cost. The southpaw started on an explosive note alongside Justin Langer, hitting four boundaries before Langer was removed by Sean Ervine in the ninth over.

An early wicket forced Hayden to practice caution, and he played only in singles and doubles alongside Ricky Ponting for the next 59 runs. However, Ponting would soon depart giving way to Damien Martyn, who allowed Hayden to unleash himself. The opener rained six boundaries over the next few overs before Martyn fell to Trevor Gripper, reducing Australia to 199/3.

The experienced Steve Waugh came next, and with the ball getting softer, Hayden went full-throttle. Australia ended Day 1 on 372/3 with Hayden unbeaten on 183 and Waugh on 61. The duo went on to add a mammoth 207-run stand for the fifth wicket, with Hayden hitting 16 boundaries and three sixes. By the time Waugh returned to the pavilion on Day 2 for a well-made 78, Hayden had already reached his double century.

Darren Lehman came in next with the main objective of handing the strike to Hayden as much as possible. Whether it be Andy Blignaut, Griper or Ray Price, Hayden thrashed them all, forging a quick-fire 96-run stand in the next 14 overs.

If brute strength was Hayden’s biggest attribute, this match tested his stamina and resolve as well. He had batted the entire Day 1 and was still going strong on with Day 2’s Lunch approaching. When Adam Gilchrist came to the crease next, it was a no-holds-barred batting display, as the left-handers whacked an unbelievable 233 runs over the next 34-odd overs.

By the time Hayden eventually got out to Gripper, he had hit 38 boundaries and 11 sixes to get to 380, thus breaking Brian Lara’s then-highest Test score of 375 runs against England.

“We didn’t really say anything to Hayden during his innings. Once he got to 60 or 70, it looked pretty ominous. It was like he was batting with a barn door. I don’t think having a word was really going to have much of an effect,” added Gripper.

Gilchrist’s unbeaten 113 off 94 balls coming down the order made the chance of any competition bleaker and the match was well and truly over, with Zimbabwe trailing by 735 runs. The hosts, in turn,  would wrap up Zimbabwe for 239 runs in the first innings, thus forcing a follow-on on Day 3. 

While it was impossible to reach Australia’s total, a spirited fightback by the likes of Mark Vermeulen (63), Ervine (53), and Streak (71) saw the match go to Day 5, where the chance of a draw was discussed at one point. Eventually, Zimbabwe would crack and lose the match by an innings and 175 runs.

Zimbabwe’s entire team batted twice to score just 180 more runs than what Hayden tallied in the first innings.  

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