The innings of Andrew Symonds' ODI career came about partly because of a captain's hunch. Shane Warne and Darren Lehmann's suspensions, and Michael Bevan's injury, helped him find a place in a side for the greatest tournament of a sport he was considering quitting due to lack of opportunity. And it was a good thing for the side that he chose to stay with cricket.

Australia's World Cup campaign looked to be tripping up in their first game, against Pakistan in Johannesburg, when Symonds arrived at the crease with the score at 86 for 4. His first ball was a bouncer from Waqar Younis and his start was far from smooth. However, Symonds, who almost played on when 23, was unperturbed when Shoaib Akhtar removed Ricky Ponting, and he set about producing the innings of his life.

He couldn't remember big parts of the display and had to watch it again on DVD when preparing the World Cup chapter for his autobiography. He saw himself cover-drive Waqar Younis to bring up 50, and his maiden ODI century came with a cut boundary off Shahid Afridi, who he'd earlier struck for four fours in an over.

The fireworks began after that, including a toe-to-toe argument with Waqar after Symonds avoided a beamer. Sixes down the ground off Wasim Akram and Waqar came as he clumped 49 from his final 36 deliveries, reaching 143 off 125 balls, the third best by an Australian batsman in the World Cup.

A spectacular catch in the outfield, and the 82-run win, was the perfect icing and Symonds apologised after the game for having disappointed people for so long. Ricky Ponting kept it simple: "We saw his talent and we've known it for a long time. It was about time it started coming out."

This article was first published in 2014