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Steve Waugh

It was like a spear through my heart!

December 05, 2003

This game of cricket never ceases to amaze me. Just when you think you have seen it all, the unexpected presents itself.

My last two dismissals were both firsts for me in a career that started almost 20 years ago. Only last week whilst playing for New South Wales against Tasmania, I slog-swept a ball that was caught by Shane Watson on the boundary, who then overbalanced and was about to stumble over the rope and concede a six, but had the presence of mind to throw it sideways to a teammate nearby to complete the catch.

Hit-wicket: Steve Waugh in the first innings at BrisbaneToday, on Day 2 of the Test match, I inadvertently brushed the off-stump with my pad whilst fending off a short delivery from Zaheer Khan. It must have been the faintest of touches because I certainly didn't feel it and couldn't understand what all the commotion was about upon reaching the non-striker's end.

At first I thought the fine-leg fieldsman must have made a stunning save, but when I realised the Indian players were pointing to a bail on the ground, the adrenalin rush was like a spear through my heart. It was already a disastrous over after Marto [Damien Martyn] was run out two balls previously following on from Justin Langer's dismissal the over before. To lose three wickets in 15 minutes wasn't in our plans and has helped India back into the match.

Batting, I believe, will be hazardous for the rest of the game, particularly so because of the constant rain and thick grass cover the pitch possesses. I have never seen consistent rain like we have experienced over the first two days here at the 'Gabba'. Normally thunderstorms are the order of the day with a quick deluge sometimes accompanied by hail that comes quickly and leaves just as swiftly.

Justin Langer's hundred was one of his best and a tribute to his technique and concentration. He had his share of luck, which one needs on this type of pitch. To get a decent score you will play and miss quite a few times, but you must also hit the gaps when the loose ball presents itself. Lang did this magnificently as did Hayden, Ponting and Martyn.

A score of around 350 is an excellent result taking the conditions into consideration, although our batting collapse was disappointing and credit must go to the Indian attack. But the Indian batsmen will be under a lot of pressure in conditions that are heavily in favour of the bowlers.

It's an exciting time for Nathan Bracken who is making his Test debut as the 387th man to don the Baggy Green. I still recall my first against India back in 1985 and what it felt like to first represent your country. It's a unique experience, and as I've learnt, a unique game that continually tests your resolve and ability to overcome adversity.


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