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Why Hussain was ‘loving it’ during famous Donald-Atherton battle

Hussain Atherton
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Non-striker Nasser Hussain was ‘loving it’ when Allan Donald and Michael Atherton engaged in their memorable Trent Bridge duel in 1998, knowing that Donald would divert all his short-pitched stuff at Atherton.

Considered one of the most famous contests between a bowler and batsman in Test history, Donald’s hostile spell to Atherton headlined the riveting fourth innings action, with England requiring 247 runs to win the Test and level the series ahead of the final game.

Reliving the thrilling contest on a Sky Sports Watchalong, the trio of Hussain, Donald and Atherton recollected memories of that cloudy day in Nottingham, where the 40-minute encounter took the centerstage. Donald peppered Atherton with a barrage of bouncers, greeting the opener with his customary scowls in an attempt to break the second-wicket stand with Nasser Hussain.

“I am loving it now because I know AD [Allan Donald] has got what two short balls in an over he can use, they’re all going to be at Atherton,” Hussain said. “I’ll be getting the only ones he can pitch up, Atherton is going to get all the chin music!

“I am really happy now. With my dodgy technique, he’s going to try and nick me off, and he’s so ticking with Ath [Atherton], he’s just going to go chin music at him.”

Eventually, it was Donald who accounted for Hussain’s wicket, dismissing him for 58, but Atherton’s doughty, unbeaten 98 carried the side home, pushing the series to a decider at Leeds.

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