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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Congratulations, Marcus North! 117 on debut ...

Our local Perth batsman (and part-time but excellent bowler), Marcus North has waited a long time for his place in the Australian Test cricket team. Now, he has shown his class in a stunning debut innings at the historic Wanderers ground in South Africa wheren Australia scored 466(3.70 runs per over)in their first innings.

Bloody beauty, Marcus.

Here I quote from 'cricinfo' -

A superb century on debut from Marcus North and a thrilling boundary-filled innings from Mitchell Johnson allowed Australia to take charge of the opening Test at the Wanderers, and the feel-good factor was enhanced in a final session in which they grabbed three wickets and reduced the run-rate to a crawl. Two century partnerships, both involving North, were followed by a stunning 53-run stand between Johnson and Peter Siddle, which included 26 from a Paul Harris over. Ben Hilfenhaus then took a wicket with his second ball in Test cricket as a glum crowd looked on, and it was clear that if South Africa are to wrest that No.1 ranking, they'll have to do it the hard way.

In 132 years of Test cricket, only 18 Australian batsmen have made centuries on debut. Michael Clarke was the last, in Bangalore in 2004, and North joined that select band with a wonderfully mature innings that allowed his team to take firm control. His 117 spanned nearly three sessions and 233 balls, and it was the 113-run partnership with Brad Haddin that changed the complexion of the match. The 117 that he went on to add with Johnson for the eighth wicket was a record for Australia against South Africa, and both stands served to highlight the maturity and composure of his batting.

At 29, he's no greenhorn and he came into this Test with 8880 first-class runs behind him. As much as the fluent drives and the precise sweeps against the slow bowlers, what was really notable was his judgment of which deliveries to leave. There were few wild wafts, and initial circumspection gave way to much more positivity after lunch.

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