Arguably the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman in the history of the game, former Australia international had Test centuries at Wankhede, Johannesburg, Bangalore, Kandy, Edgbaston in addition to several other memorable centuries in his illustrious career but the swashbuckling batsman has revealed his most memorable knock was his 144 knock against Bangladesh in 2006.
Subcontinent had always been a dreaded place for the all-conquering team from Down Under and they did little to curb those apprehensions in their first-ever visit to Bangladesh. After conceding 427 runs in the first innings of the opening Test, they were steering down the barrel after being reduced to 93 for 6 with the likes of Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting back in the hut. However, just like the umpteenth number of times in the past, Gilchrist once again came to his team’s rescue and scored a majestic century to help his team score 269. Australia had gone on to win the match by 3 wickets.
“We had this long hard summer, we went to South Africa, had this really tight series there that we just got over the line,” Gilchrist recalled on Triple M radio earlier this year.
Prior to the series in Bangladesh, Ricky Ponting and his men had a gruelling 18-month period on the road during which they had won a historic Test series in India, New Zealand, South Africa as well as a defeat in Ashes.
“Then we tagged on a little two-Test tour to Bangladesh thinking, ‘We’ll get over there, we’ll wipe those muppets, they’ll be useless’,” he added. “They ambushed us badly. I walked to the crease … and it was panic time.”
Talking about the knock, Gilchrist said forging useful partnerships with the lower-order batsmen helped him to score the most hard-fought 100 of his career. Gilchrist had scored those 144 runs at a strike-rate of almost 68 while his career-strike rate in Test cricket is an exceptional 81.95.
“I managed to have a couple of allies stay with me in the lower order (and) I got to 100,” Gilchrist said. “And it was my slowest most hard fought 100 in my career.”
Australia, nevertheless, managed to win both the Tests of that series and Steve Smith & Co. would be hoping to replicate that performance when they play against Mushfiqur Rahim & Co. later this month.