This day that year: Jason Gillespie bats for 3 days to slam only double hundred by a nightwatchman


Having already taken a 1-0 lead over hosts Bangladesh, Australia walked into the second Test at Chittagong to seal the Test series and whitewash Bangladesh.

Habibul Bashar-led Bangladesh had been packed by Australia’s Glenn McGrath-less bowling unit for just 197 runs. Jason Gillespie, the senior most pacer in the team had cleaned up the top-3 of Bangla Tigers.

Matthew Hayden and Phil Jaques came in to open the batting for Australia and stitched a partnership of 67 runs for the 1st wicket before Hayden departed.

Looking at the overcast conditions and an expected chance of rain, captain Ricky Ponting decided to step back and send nightwatchman Jason Gillespie in the middle.

The lanky pacer Gillespie walked as a nightwatchman unaware of the fact that he was going to script a history and become the greatest in the ‘society of nightwatchmen’.

The purpose of sending Jason Gillespie as the nightwatchman went futile as 17 overs later, Phil Jaques also departed and Ricky Ponting had to ultimately walk in.

Rain interrupted later and when the second day of the play was stopped, Jason Gillespie walked back to the pavilion on 28 not out.

Conditions did not change much the next day and the cloud covers made it difficult for light to pour into the ground. But when the play finally started after lunch, Gillespie showed he had not lost his shine.

Before Ricky Ponting departed after getting runout due to a miscommunication with Jason Gillespie, the duo had scored 90 runs together. Michael Hussey, the next man to walk in, joined Gillespie, who was then batting on 50 off 158 balls.

On the penultimate over before tea, Gillespie completed his first major milestone when he handsomely drived a ball towards extra-cover to bring up his century off 296 balls.

Rain interrupted again and the remaining overs of Day 3 couldn’t be completed.

Day 4 of the match saw sun come out and as Gillespie and Hussey moved forward towards the crease their was a feeling of something great coming in the atmosphere.

Both the players would defended authoritatively and then send the ball across the boundary rope from time to time to drain out the Bangladesh bowlers. There came a moment when both, Gillespie and Hussey were in their 170s. ‘Mr Cricket’ lost his focus and got out on 182 but his partner Gillespie continued making brave strides forward.

Ricky Ponting could have easily declared the innings as the lead was comprehensive enough to beat the hosts by a margin of an innings but he hardly cared and just wished his pace spearhead to smash a double ton and get into the history books.

The moment finally came on 425th ball of Jason Gillespie’s innings, he smashed a boundary again and became the first batsman to slam a double hundred in Test cricket.

It’s been 14 years since that record knock and no other nightwatchman has even came close to it.

Jason Gillespie bowled only 4 overs in Bangladesh’s 2nd innings but that did not matter much as the might Australians defeated Bangla Tigers by an innings and 80 runs to seal the series 2-0.

Jason Gillespie was adjudged Man of the Match as well as Man of the series.

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About the author: Sohom Das
Founder of Tuccho.

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