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'The bravest innings I've seen'
Part four: Ian Chappell on the best centuries he has watched. This time: Kim Hughes against West Indies (00:00)
Producer: Ranjit Shinde
August 7, 2012
Kim Hughes, 100 not out v West Indies, Melbourne
'The bravest innings I've seen'August 7, 2012
In 1981-82 West Indies were pretty hard to beat - not too many teams beat them. They came to Australia, the first Test match was played at Melbourne. Greg Chappell, by that stage, had had a gutful of the MCG wicket; he had been complaining about it for quite a long time and in his opinion nothing was done to fix it.
Generally the wicket at the MCG kept low, but this was really a bad one because some would keep low and some would kick up. The West Indies had probably one of their best attacks ever. They had Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft. A pretty decent foursome that, and lots of pace.
Australia were in deep trouble, 3 for 8 when Kim Hughes came into bat. There are a couple of reasons why I have chosen this innings. He got 100 out of 198, and that's a pretty amazing percentage of the runs, particularly when you bat at No. 5. The other thing was the bravery required in this innings.
Kim Hughes could be a funny type of player. He was the sort of guy that you almost felt went by numbers rather than the actual delivery. I have seen him basically block half-volleys and then the next ball would be a really good length ball and he would smash it, or try and smash it. That's why I always thought he played by numbers rather than the actual delivery that came down. But this day if he was playing by numbers, he chose right every time. He was impeccable.
The courage… he took the West Indies quickies on, he pulled them, he hooked them, and it was an innings of great bravery, great daring, because not only do you need the physical courage when the ball… some are kicking up and some are staying down, that's the batsman's worst nightmare, particularly when he is up against genuine pace... it takes a lot of mental fortitude, in those circumstances, to take the bowlers on, and that's exactly what Kim Hughes did.
He scored a hundred, he was not out, Australia finished up trailing slightly on the first innings but they went on to win the match. And eventually the West Indies tied the series at 1-1. So really that was an unbelievably good result for Australia, and the reason why it was such a good result was purely that innings played by Kim Hughes in the first Test at MCG. It's probably the bravest innings that I think I have even seen, and certainly under the circumstances it ranks very high.
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