|Ground:||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney|
|Event:||Johnnie Walker Super Series 2005/06|
DateLine: 14th October 2005
Matthew Hayden defied attempts to pension him out of the Australian Test team with a fighting century to lead his country into a strong position after the opening day of the six-day Super Test against the World XI here Friday.
Hayden, who turns 34 later this month, accumulated his 22nd Test century to join opening partner Justin Langer as the sixth all-time Australian century-maker behind Steve Waugh (32).
The 73-Test veteran's position has been under threat after a below-par Ashes campaign against England, but Hayden has risen to the challenge with back-to-back Test hundreds, following his 138 at The Oval last month.
Hayden's untypically patient 111 in 277 minutes was the highpoint of Australia's 331 for six, along with another exhilarating Adam Gilchrist assault on a day when cricket technology, used under the special match conditions of the Super Test, cost Ricky Ponting's team three Wickets.
When bad light ended play five overs before scheduled stumps, Gilchrist had crashed four sixes and eight boundaries in an unbeaten 94 off 109 balls and Shane Warne was on one.
"Let's face it, this has been one of the more difficult periods not just for me but for all of our batsman for the last couple of months," Hayden said.
"I don't play for the selectors, I play for the team, every time I go out to bat it's vitally important that we get off to a good start and I know that I'm one of six batsmen that has to do a job.
"Unfortunately I chose the wrong strategy in England, for the first three Tests, and I'm disappointed with that but I feel looking forward things are going well."
World captain Graeme Smith was satisfied with the performance of his all-star team, although he wants to keep the Australian first innings under. "It was a pretty successful day for us, but probably 20-30 runs too much," Smith said.
"If we can defend 400 tomorrow and hopefully bat well, then that's a good position in the game, and we can really attack in the second innings."
Michael Clarke became the first batsman given out in Test cricket by the video umpire Darrell Hair midway through the afternoon session to a bat-pad catch off spinner Daniel Vettori for 39.
Clarke was joined in the pavilion 10 minutes later by Simon Katich, who was given run out by the third umpire after he was found not to have grounded his bat over the crease when Graeme Smith's throw from deep mid-on hit the stumps.
Katich looked unfortunate to be given out for a duck after a collision with bowler Muttiah Muralitharan forced his bat off the ground and led to his demise.
Shane Watson became the third batsman given out on referral to the third umpire, leg before wicket to Muralitharan for 24 with seven overs left to stumps.
Hayden's determined knock ended when he top-edged Muralitharan to Jacques Kallis at backward point in the 66th over.
Television replays showed Clarke stretching forward to the Vettori delivery, and the ball skidding off his pad, off his wrist and caught by a diving Virender Sehwag at silly point.
But Koertzen signalled the dismissal on Hair's adjudication after three minutes of deliberation.
Clarke left the arena shaking his head in disappointment with the decision.
England bowlers Steve Harmison (1-55) and Andrew Flintoff (1-55) conjured Ashes memories with the wickets of Justin Langer (0) and Ponting (46) before lunch.
Harmison struck with a pearler on the third ball of the Test, knocking over Langer's off-stump for a duck, while Flintoff had Ponting caught at wide slip.
Australia were playing their first Test match since the agony of losing the Ashes in a 2-1 series defeat to England last month.
Harmison, who only took Langer's wicket once in the Ashes series -- bowling him for 105 in the fifth Test -- had unbalanced the Australian left-hander with a yorker with his previous delivery.
Ponting played a poor shot, dabbing at a short-pitched Flintoff delivery in the 23rd over to offer a diving catch to Kallis.
The Australian skipper hit six boundaries and a six in his 97-minute knock and left the home side at 73 for 2 shortly before lunch.
Muralitharan was taunted by sections of the Australian crowd with calls of "no ball" when he came on to bowl in the 16th over. He finished with 2-102 off 30 overs.
The Sri Lankan wizard has often been heckled by Australian crowds since being no-balled here seven times for an illegal delivery by Australian umpire Hair in a Melbourne Test match in 1995.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)