Not ready to let cricket go, says Hayden
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter

Ground:Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Scorecard:Australia v England
Player:ML Hayden, AR Border, RT Ponting, SR Waugh, DG Bradman, DR Martyn, SK Warne, GD McGrath, A Symonds
Event:England in Australia 2006/07

DateLine: 28th December 2006


Matthew Hayden says he intends to bat on as retirement announcements sweep through the all-conquering Australian team. The 35-year-old opening batsman, playing in his 88th Test, claimed his 27th Test century to join Allan Border as Australia's fourth-highest century-maker as the Australians turned the screws on hapless England in the fourth Ashes Test here Wednesday. It was Hayden's first century of the series and continued his fondness for the Melbourne Cricket Ground, scoring his fifth century in his last six Tests at the famous ground. Only current captain Ricky Ponting (33), Steve Waugh (32) and Don Bradman (29) have scored more Test centuries than Hayden in Australian cricket. Hayden extravagantly raised his bat to acknowledge the ovation he received from the 75,770 crowd as he left the arena, giving rise to suggestions that he may be considering following team-mates Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Damien Martyn into Test cricket retirement. But he scotched the speculation after the second day's play where he scored 153 in seven hours off 265 balls with 13 boundaries and two sixes. "Runs are the only value in terms of currency, so I have to be on my game all the time," Hayden said. "You are always getting pressed from behind, it's an important part of Australian cricket. But I love my cricket, I love playing with these blokes and to me I'm just not ready to let it go just yet." Hayden said he revelled playing on the big stage in matches like the Boxing Day Test, where more than 164,000 fans have thronged to the opening two days at the vast MCG. "It's an incredible ground. The ultimate for a Test cricketer is to play before big crowds and this is exactly why we come here so excited about this venue as being the highlight of the Test calendar year and today was no different," he said. "I like the occasion, it's just so awesome to play in front of big crowds in Test match cricket." Hayden said a highlight for him had been helping his great mate Andrew Symonds reach his maiden Test century to put England firmly on the ropes in the fourth Test. "I've rejoiced in Andrew's achievement. A first Test hundred is an incredibly special moment and just being a part of it was one of the highlights of my Test career," he said. "From fishing and hunting to camping together to Test match hundreds in Melbourne's 100th Test match. It was an incredible day."