Recalling his iconic double hundred in his 71st and last Test for Australia, Jason Gillespie revealed the timely advice from his batting partner Michael Hussey that helped him reach 201*, the highest Test score by a nightwatchman.
Gillespie, who “still pinches himself” when remembering the “surreal” experience, batted out 425 deliveries in Australia’s win against Bangladesh in the 2006 Chittagong Test, putting on a 320-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Michael Hussey.
Speaking on the Instagram Live show Homerun with AV, Gillespie recalled how he trusted himself to “play the ball on merit”, looking to score runs off deliveries that weren’t directed towards his stumps. A slump of concentration in his 170s threatened to throw it all away, but Hussey’s calming influence pushed Gillespie to eventually cross the 200-run milestone.
“I was batting with Mike Hussey, and I must have been at 160-170, maybe 170,” Gillespie said, “and I remember Shahadat Hossain came in and bowled and I went for a really big…like, a terrible shot. Just missed my leg stump.
“Hussey walked down the wicket, I sorta walked up, tapping the wicket, and he said ‘Pull your head in, Dizzy! No better chance of getting a double hundred in your whole career. This will never happen again. Don’t waste your opportunity.”
The simple bit of advice from Hussey, playing only the 11th Test of his career, helped Gillespie think straight, refreshing his focus as he trudged towards the 200-run mark.
“My initial [thought]…I was thinking, ‘Hang on, Huss, I’m sure I can do this’. I am walking back to my crease, thinking ‘I can do this again.’ But then reality set in by the time I got back to my crease and was marking centre, that Huss was a 100 per cent correct. I was never gonna ever be in this situation again in my life. I sorta pulled my head in and took that good advice.”
Ironically, Hussey himself fell 18 short of a double hundred, a milestone he never reached in his 79-Test career.
“He was very early in his Test career,” Gillespie said. “He sort of nursed me through. He’s obviously been there, done that in first-class cricket. It was a wonderful experience. Great way to sign off my career, I suppose.”