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February 21, 2007
Matthew Hayden is hopeful the broken big toe he suffered while scoring an Australian-record 181 will heal in time for the World Cup. Hayden was struck on the foot by Mark Gillespie during his 166-ball effort in the third Chappell-Hadlee Trophy match on Tuesday and x-rays revealed a fracture.
Hayden was due to see a specialist in Brisbane on Wednesday after arriving in Australia with the squad, but he said after the one-wicket loss he was confident there would be enough time for the injury to heal before the opening rounds in the Caribbean. "I'm really disappointed," he said in the Daily Telegraph. "But the good news is I don't think it's particularly ... if there is such a thing as a good break, this is as good as it can get.
"The timing is right as well. It's not like I'm going to miss much cricket. We've got a bit of time and time is the only thing that heals bone. It's been a pretty frustrating day."
Despite Hayden's huge score and a total of 5 for 346, Australia's bowlers were unable to stop New Zealand storming to the target through Craig McMillan, Peter Fulton and Brendon McCullum. The magnitude of Hayden's innings, which included ten sixes, was shown when he was awarded the Man-of-the-Match prize by the New Zealand judges.
"It's like the [Test world record] innings against Zimbabwe," Hayden said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's almost surreal, you get yourself in a position where you get a big score and then you just, your mind is so free and anything is possible. It's one of those rare sporting moments where you play good cricket and play it for almost 50 overs. I'm optimistic about the next two months."
Hayden's break was the latest setback to a team that has been plagued by fitness worries over the past month. Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds are in doubt for the World Cup with ankle and arm problems while Michael Clarke was sent home from New Zealand due to hip soreness. The injuries have contributed to Australia losing five matches in a row, which is their worst streak since 1997.
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