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April 20, 2006
Jason Gillespie, who is the first nightwatchman to score a double-century, could scarcely believe his feat and said that it was like a fairytale.
"This is ridiculous," Gillespie told The Sydney Morning Herald. "I was just lucky that the shots came off and I had a bit of a laugh all the way. It's unbelievable. It's a fairytale really. Hansel and Gretel and Dizzy's double-hundred, it's one and the same. Absolute fairytale."
On reaching the landmark, Gillespie ran towards the dressing-room, bat in one hand and helmet in the other, and took a bow. He said that Michael Hussey, his partner during a 320-run partnership for the fourth wicket, kept informing him as he beat the highest scores of illustrious Australian batsmen. "He [Hussey] knew every Test player and former Test player's highest score and was ticking them off. Went past Mark Waugh , he told me that. Went past Michael Clarke , he told me that. Went past Steve Waugh  and Boonie [David Boon 200]."
Hussey said that he didn't want to be beaten by Gillespie and that kept him going as well. He was eventually out for 182. "I think it was a real testament to his concentration, really, to be able to bat for so long," said Hussey. "Especially since he's not a recognised batsman as such. So that was quite a bit of motivation for me to keep going as well because I didn't want to be outdone by Diz. And also Matty [Matthew] Hayden had a bit of a bet with Diz [Gillespie] as well."
Gillespie later revealed the nature of the wager Hayden had placed. "He [Hayden] reckoned he's going to do a nude run of The Oval if I got 200. I said if I got 200, I'd do a nude lap too. Not sure about that one, being in a Muslim country, I don't think it'll be perceived right, unlike anywhere else."
Gillespie was commended for his powers of concentration by John Buchanan, the coach, and Merv Hughes, the Australian selector. "Considering Jason hadn't made a hundred in any form of cricket, it was an amazing innings," said Buchanan. "For any batsman, particularly a nightwatchman, to sustain an innings of over 400 balls is something we may never see again."
"You have to be here to believe it," said Hughes. "People back home are going to wonder how he did it. But he thoroughly deserved it. He was a picture of concentration and control and like any good batsman, he knew his limitations and strengths."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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