Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/12/10/top-10-aussie-caps-mark-waugh

Top 10 Aussie Caps - Mark Waugh

UPDATED 04 January, 2013 3:15PM AEST | by Martin Gabor

Mark Waugh is number 5 on our countdown list, having represented Australia in 128 Test matches.

He is perhaps the most laconic player to have ever worn the baggy green.

Even against the most feared bowlers in word cricket, Waugh always managed to look at ease.

It was this laid back appearance that many pundits mistook for a poor attitude.

On the back of solid Shield performances, Waugh earned a call-up to the Australian Test side; at the expense of his twin brother Steve.

It was a bittersweet moment for “Junior”, but one he grabbed with both hands.

He made his debut against England in the fourth Test at the Adelaide Oval look easy, rescuing Australia from a precarious position to hit a faultless 138.

It was a dream start for the New South Welshman, who went on to excel in the tour of West Indies.

A team high tally of 367 runs, as well as a valuable eight wickets with the ball made him a more than handy asset to the team.

A run of indifferent form threatened to undo his outstanding start, but Waugh made amends with a stylish 112 at the MCG against the West Indies.

In the midst of a hot run of form, Waugh turned his eyes to the English attack.

After hitting a well-made century in England, Waugh belted another century in the first test at the Gabba.

His solid series continued when he claimed right English scalps in the fourth Test at Adelaide.

The calmness of the man was on show in the Summer of 1995/96 when he brushed aside off field dramas to dominate both the Sri Lankan and Pakistani attacks.

He averaged over 60 in both series to reinforce his value to the side.

The most notable thing about Waugh’s batting was the sheer elegance of his stroke making.

He made batting look simple with his impeccable timing, as well as his ability to play the ball anywhere in the ground.

While Waugh is best known for his terrific technique, there are few batsmen who could hit the ball as hard or as far as the New South Welshman.

Daniel Vettori will never forget the 130 metre six hit by Waugh which landed atop the Lillee-Marsh Stand.

The only disappointment in his glittering career is that he never really went on to post a huge score.

Out of his 20 centuries, his highest score was only 153*.

This doesn’t truly reflect how talented he was, with most people believing he is one of the best batsmen to have never scored a double ton.

The 2001 Ashes tour was highly successful for Junior, with Waugh hitting two centuries against the English, and then breaking Mark Taylor’s record with his 158th catch.

He finished with 181 grabs in total, a record only passed in 2009.

His fielding was the epitome of safe, with Waugh developing into a specialist slips fieldsman.

Waugh’s career ended without any great fuss when he was omitted from the Ashes squad for the 2002/03 series. He is now a commentator with Fox Sports.

Number 5 – Ill in India

Mark Waugh’s highest score of 153* comes as a shock to most people, with experts believing he could have, and probably should have scored more.

However, the knock was a masterful display in the testing conditions of India.

Despite suffering from a gastric disorder, Waugh maintained his elegant approach to the game, producing a clinical innings of the highest order.

He struck 13 boundaries and four sixes in pivotal performance that wrapped up the surprise victory.

Number 4 – Adelaide Assault

In the 1997/98 series against South Africa, Waugh was involved in one of the most memorable, and possibly controversial moments of the Summer.

Having already hit 63 in the first innings, Waugh came to the crease on the fourth day with Australia in trouble.

In a seven hour display, Junior thwarted the South African attack time and time again.

However late on the final day, Waugh was ruck by a Shaun Pollock bouncer, which seemed to unsettle him. 

In a moment of confusion, the key wicket for the South Africans seemed to stumble and hit his own wicket.

The umpires gave him not out, and he finished the match unbeaten on 155*, earning Australia a draw.

It was a heated moment of play that couldn’t have been timed any better, with Australians returning late in the evening from work just as the bizarre incident took place.

Number 3 – Bittersweet Debut

Debuts are usually associated with unbridled joy.

In Waugh’s case, things were a little different.

In an unprecedented turn of events, Mark Waugh earned his Baggy green at the expense of his slightly older twin brother Steve.

It was a tough pill to swallow for the brothers, who had been inseparable on the cricket field.

Mark Waugh made the most of his lucky break in the fourth test against England, rescuing Australia from a sticky situation to post an invaluable first innings 138.

While Steve missed out on this occasion, the pair ended up combining for the most matches every played by twins, let alone brothers.

Number 2 – Fielding Freak

The adage “catches win matches” must have been drilled in at the Waugh household.

Whether he was in the slips or in close on the on-side, Waugh repeatedly sent batsmen packing with his rock-solid fielding.

Just as he made batting look simple, Waugh took some pearlers that he made look like regulation sitters.

His fielding at first slip off the bowling of Shane Warne was clinical, with the pair combining for a stack of dismissals.

It was fitting that Waugh would eventually break Mark Taylor’s catching record. Junior finished up with 181 catches, a record that stood until 2009 when Rahul Dravid took up the mantle.

Number 1 – Caribbean Quality

Australia travelled to the West Indies in 1995/96 as massive underdogs.

The side hadn’t won a series against their opponents for 22 years, and little was expected against the imposing West Indian attack.

Heading into the fourth Test in Jamaica, the series was locked at 1-1.

Batting with his brother, the Waugh twins combined for a 231 stand to effectively wrap up the trophy.

It was a superb partnership from the pair, with Junior posting a memorable 126 in the process.

The historic win was arguably the catalyst for Australia’s ascension to the top of world cricket.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 10 December, 2012 9:20AM AEST

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