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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

Buchanan rates Hayden's knock as one of his best

Simon Evans | March 28, 2007 11:14 IST

Australia coach John Buchanan rated Matthew Hayden's innings of 158 against West Indies on Tuesday as one of the best in his career.

But with persistent drizzle preventing the hosts from beginning their reply to Australia's total of 322 for six, Buchanan pointed out the world champions still had plenty to do if Hayden's effort was to become a match-winning knock.

Play will resume in the Super Eights game on Wednesday.

"It was one of his top innings' not just because of the score but because of the adjustment he made coming from the group games in St Kitts," Buchanan told a news conference.

"He came into this after a travel day, a short training session and then batting on a wicket that was significantly different, on a ground that was significantly different and a bowling attack that was significantly different.

"We were looking for a platform from him and he gave us exactly that so I rate that innings very highly," he added praising Hayden's shot selection and the range of his strokes.

Hayden's innings was a fitting opening performance in the new Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, recalling the Antiguan's fluent strokeplay, controlled aggression and impenetrable confidence.


But the first game in the purpose-built venue was spoilt by a poor turnout -- the new stands were less than half-full -- and then by the rain which left Lara's side kicking their heels in the dressing room and the fans slowly getting wet in the drizzle.

The mood may be even more subdued on Wednesday if the World Cup hosts fail to give the Antiguan fans a victory and they will now need to produce one of the best batting performances in years if they are to continue their winning start to the competition.

"I think we've got our noses in front," said Buchanan, "It is always nice to have that score on the board but it is a two day game now and we have got a lot of work to do tomorrow (Wednesday) to defend that total.

The only major disappointment in the Australian performance was batsman Michael Hussey's failure to make it to double figures for the fourth time in four games at this World Cup.

But Buchanan said he was confident that Hussey would soon be back to his best.

"Like anyone who loves scoring runs he'd like to be scoring more runs. But he is doing all the right things, his preparation and his mental approach is right and I don't see this small bout of low scores continuing much longer," he said.

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