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Peter English in Hobart
November 17, 2007
Adam Gilchrist has featured heavily in an advertising campaign for backyard cricket during the Test series and is now pleading for some of the Bellerive Oval neighbours to give him his ball back. The slog-sweep that Gilchrist swatted off Muttiah Muralitharan sailed out of the ground, brought up his 100th six and was not returned.
He will not pay for the memento, which is not worth the huge sums that had baseball fans scurrying for the home runs of Barry Bonds, but it will become a treasured item if he sees it again. "There aren't too many things you do in life when you're the only person - ever - who has done it," he said. "It would be nice to have that particular ball that notched up the hundred."
Gilchrist's home is not covered in memorabilia and he is not a huge collector, but the uniqueness of the record generated the request. "I'd love to hang on to it," he said. "Whoever's got it, I'd be more than grateful [if they gave it back]."
He struck three sixes in his unbeaten 67, which came from 77 balls, and Nos. 99 and 100 came in back-to-back deliveries from Muralitharan. Despite the strength of the second shot, he could not rate it as his most satisfying clearance. "I'm still not sure what delivery he bowled to me to hit," he said.
Brian Lara sits second on the six list with 88 and Gilchrist has held the record since last year. He remembered he was closing in on three figures when he pulled Lasith Malinga for No. 98.
"It came into mind and I tried to slog-sweep Murali and nearly got caught," he said. "The moment you set about trying to be too forceful you're probably not allowing for things to happen too naturally. The sixes at the end were very natural, free-flowing shots - not trying to blaze the ball over the rope."
Gilchrist said batting with the tail, when there was greater urgency for runs, had given him more opportunities for big shots than his middle- and top-order team-mates. His aggressive mind-set also helped, but he was aware that it had led to his downfall on numerous occasions.
He also revealed the joy of a six. "There is a point in time when you and you only know - the rest know it a second later - and it's the best feeling as a batsman," he said. "You know you took a risk. If it pays off it usually pays reasonable dividends and is satisfying."
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Bide your time, put your body behind each delivery, and play with the batsman's mind