January 19, 2001

Goodwin, Hussey combine to hand Warriors top spot

Scott Holdaway

Murray Goodwin
Murray Goodwin
Photo AllsportAust

The Western Warriors have shot to the top of the Mercantile Mutual Cup standings following a seventy-three run win over New South Wales at the WACA Ground tonight, a result built on a mammoth third-wicket partnership.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Warriors managed a record-equalling total of 5/325 thanks to the largest-ever third wicket partnership (257) in domestic one-day cricket in Australia, between Murray Goodwin (167) and Mike Hussey (94).

In reply, the Blues were dismissed for 253 in the forty-seventh over, their inability to build a run chase around an impressive Brad Haddin (58) half-century handing the Warriors victory and the bonus point.

While the Warriors' bowling attack did well to limit scoring opportunities for the Blues, it was Goodwin's record domestic one-day knock which spurred the win and saw the home side leapfrog South Australia into first place on the Cup ladder.

Goodwin hit twenty-one boundaries in just over three hours at the crease, a hand later described by Hussey as the best and "the most unbelievable" one-day innings anyone could ever see.

"Murray just hit the ball as well as I've seen anyone hit the ball ever - it was a fantastic innings," Hussey said, adding he was pleased to make runs himself.

"It was good to be involved in such a big partnership like that, and very important for the team to get the bonus point."

Until later informed, Goodwin was unaware of the fact that he had surpassed Rick McCosker's score of 164 in the 1981-82 season to establish a new mark for the highest individual innings in Australian domestic one-day competition. He said that, while Hussey's claim was a big one, he didn't think he'd ever displayed better form with the bat. He also ventured that the secret to his huge knock was Hussey's contribution opposite his own.

"Huss hit the ball really, really well and we seemed to put the bowlers off a bit with the left-hand/right-hand combination," the right-handed Goodwin said.

"We ran pretty well between the wickets and, some days, they don't bowl as well as they should."

Warriors captain Tom Moody may have been sweating early during his side's innings as Ryan Campbell (13) and Justin Langer (20) fell victim to an expensive Simon Cook (2/72). But Goodwin, who looked comfortable in the middle even before Langer left, soon erased any worry that might have been lingering in his captain's mind.

The former Zimbabwean consistently took to the Blues' bowlers, scoring to all parts of the ground as he registered his third half-century in five one-day innings this season.

After managing his first fifty in fifty-five balls, Goodwin accelerated further and brought up his ton in just ninety deliveries. It was then Hussey's turn to wow the crowd as he produced some splendid strokeplay of his own.

Hussey was eventually removed six runs short of his century with just three overs remaining, spooning a return catch to spinner Mark Higgs (2/44). Meanwhile, Goodwin's swashbuckling assault saw him reach 150 before he holed out to Blues captain Shane Lee in the deep nine balls later.

In between the two crucial wickets, Higgs also claimed the scalp of Brendon Julian (1), leaving Moody (14*) to hit two quick boundaries in the final over and set the Blues their extremely daunting chase.

Haddin's impressive half-century kept the visitors in the contest early. But the signs were ominous once Darren Wates (1/45) had Michael Slater (19) caught by `keeper Campbell and then Haddin was run out by Marcus North shortly after.

Lee (14) and Graeme Rummans (21) held things together for a short while, warding off the bowling attack rather than trying to throttle it for runs. But, after eight overs together and with the score on 149, Lee became the first of four victims for paceman Duncan Spencer (4/35) when caught by North.

Spencer struck exactly two overs later to remove new batsmen Michael Clarke (4), another to be caught by Campbell. Seven balls later, Campbell had yet another catch, removing a confident Rummans from Moody's (1/22) bowling.

A half-century partnership between Shawn Bradstreet (33) and Phil Jaques (40) steadied the ship, but brought an unlikely victory no closer as the run rate ballooned. Warriors left-arm spinner Brad Hogg (2/37) soon had the former caught and bowled in the forty-third over to leave the Blues 7/237.

Hogg (2/37) wasn't finished there, however, and two balls later beat the willow of Jaques to hand Campbell an easy stumping just for good measure.

Spencer finally wrapped up the match, snaring the last two wickets - Greg Mail (10) and Stuart Clark (0) - in the space of four deliveries.

Hussey said that, although the Warriors performance was pleasing just over a month out from the one-day final, they could still improve by up to ten per cent and "take the competition by storm".

"We have to keep working hard and hopefully we'll be able to consolidate a place in the Final," he said.

The Warriors now sit three points clear of the second-placed Redbacks with three matches remaining. New South Wales' predicament suddenly looks far more forlorn; it is another three points back in third place and has just two more one-day fixtures to come.