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‘You can **** up’ – The Morrison sledge that made Slater ‘go nuts’

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Danny Morrison, the former New Zealand pacer and popular commentator, has recalled the time his cheeky sledge to a young Michael Slater caused the Australian to “go nuts”.

Morrison, speaking on the Edges and Sledges podcast, said he wasn’t a bowler who sledged often, and that he usually got under oppositions’ skin “with a wink and a smile”. However, he did remember one incident with Slater, during New Zealand’s tour of Australia in 1993, when he sledged Slater, who had just made his Test debut earlier that year.

“With Michael Slater, there was one sledge I gave him beautifully. [At the time] Matthew Hayden was getting a lot of runs for Queensland in State cricket, and Mark Taylor [Slater’s opening partner] was going through a bit of a lull. But because they’d been doing well in the Ashes of 1993 – [Allan] Border’s last Ashes series – and Taylor, been around for a long time, quality individual, [they persisted with him].

“And the guy, Matty Hayden, was getting a truckload of runs, and there was a banner I remember at the ground: ‘The only thing bigger than Mark Taylor’s backside is Matthew Hayden’s average’ … there was a big banner, I’ll never forget it.

“Michael Slater had made his debut in that series in the Ashes of ’93. Got a hundred on debut at Lord’s, but he was struggling a little bit too when he came back, there was a break, and from England back to Australia, the conditions … but they still went with him because they were the guys who put the combination together in England.”

Australia won that six-match series in England 4-1, with Slater scoring a century and two fifties. However, in the first Test against New Zealand, Morrison says he gave him a tough time. “Playing New Zealand, first Test of the summer at the WACA, and we went there, and I remember beating Michael Slater a few times just outside off stump, he played a couple of flashy drives and a couple of play-and-misses.

“I remember just giving him the old, ‘Where is this guy Hayden!?’ I gave him that, and my word, Michael Slater just exploded. He went effing and … ‘You can **** up’ and he just went nuts. He went crazy. I just winked and bowled, and beat him and went, ‘Uh oh it’s coming’ – that sort of stuff. I had more fun with [sledging] rather than like Big Merv [Hughes] – a grizzling menace.”

Morrison sledging didn’t have much of an effect, though, as Slater scored two half-centuries in that match, falling just a run short of a century in the second innings.

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