Catch of the day

Fish­ing mates gut Poms with 279-run part­ner­ship

Townsville Bulletin - - Cricket -

FISH­ING and hunt­ing bud­dies Andrew Sy­monds and Matthew Hay­den can put the heads of 11 Eng­land crick­eters on the tro­phy wall af­ter their cen­turies put Aus­tralia in con­trol of the fourth Ashes Test yes­ter­day.

The two ma­cho men pun­ished Eng­land with a 279-run part­ner­ship on day two at the MCG which drove the home side to 7-372, a lead of 213, and put a fourth win this se­ries in Aus­tralia’s sights.

Sy­monds (154 not out) de­mol­ished any doubts over his abil­ity at the high­est level with a maiden cen­tury of ma­tu­rity and bru­tal stroke­play, hav­ing joined Hay­den with Aus­tralia wob­bling at 5-84 be­fore lunch.

Hay­den re­sumed his fond­ness for Aus­tralian cricket’s big­gest event, as his 153 was his fifth cen­tury in six Box­ing Day Tests and his 27th over­all, equal with Al­lan Border.

There are only six play­ers in front of him on the all-time cen­tury-mak­ers’ list.

Sy­monds and Hay­den share a love of fish­ing, hunt- ing, camp­ing and pink bat­ting grips — based on a char­ity fundraiser.

They now s h a r e t h e sec­ond-high­est sixth-wicket stand in an Ashes Test, be­hind only the 346 Jack Fin­gle­ton and Sir Don­ald Brad­man put on 70 years ago.

Eng­land fought back in the first ses­sion af­ter be­ing rolled for 159 on Tues­day but cap­tain Andrew Flintoff was pow­er­less to stop the two Queens­lan­ders putting Aus­tralia in com­mand.

Sy­monds had not sealed his place as Aus­tralia’s all­rounder when he started his 12th Test and was again plagued by nerves. He only got off the mark on the 21st de­liv­ery he faced.

He built his con­fi­dence through some sweet tim­ing and when the mo­ment came, on 96, he smashed a six straight down the ground off Paul Colling­wood to crown his great­est crick­et­ing mo­ment.

‘‘I was think­ing ‘should I do this in ones, or, if he slips one up there, should I give it some Larry Doo­ley (a for­mer boxer)?’,’’ he said. ‘‘I de­cided if he slips one up there I’d give it some Larry Doo­ley.’’

Sy­monds did not even know the shot went for six.

He was too busy cel­e­brat­ing. He screamed in de­light and then threw him­self into the arms of Hay­den.

‘‘I have done a lot of things with Matty over the years with my cricket and with my life and for me it was very fit­ting to do it with him,’’ Sy­monds said.

‘‘He was like a pil­lar of strength for me. He reined me in when I was go­ing too hard or when I was los­ing fo­cus. He was a huge help for me to­day.’’

Hay­den’s ac­knowl­edge­ment of his own cen­tury to an­other huge crowd of 75,770 was re­strained by com­par­i­son.

He said he held him­self back so he could re­joice with Sy­monds and de­scribed the mo­ment as one of the best of his ca­reer.

‘‘From fish­ing to camp­ing to hunt­ing to Test match hun­dreds in Melbourne’s 100th Test match — it was an in­cred­i­ble day,’’ said Hay­den, who cel­e­brated reach­ing 150 like he nor­mally would a ton.

The Hay­den-Sy­monds run-fest was also a huge money-spin­ner for char­ity.

The more runs the pair scored, the more their bat spon­sor gave to the Aus­tralian Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion. Both used pink bat grips to raise aware­ness for the foun­da­tion.

‘‘I’m happy to use pink grips for the rest of my life,’’ Sy­monds said.

BREAK­THROUGH IN­NINGS . . . Andrew Sy­monds screams in de­light af­ter bring­ing up his maiden Test cen­tury at the MCG yes­ter­day. Sy­monds shared a 279-run part­ner­ship with Matthew Hay­den to leave Eng­land on the ropes.

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