Glenn Maxwell woke with a vision that a big innings was in store in Adelaide but first had to talk Australia's selectors into letting him play
Maxwell's dream innings in match he wasn't meant to play
Having talked the Australia T20 team brains trust out of resting him from last night's game against West Indies at Adelaide Oval, Glenn Maxwell woke on match morning with the eerily prescient feeling he was about to play one his famously unforgettable innings.
As events unfolded, the decision not to rest the champion batter and instead allow emerging allrounder Aaron Hardie to fill his role proved a stroke of genius as Maxwell produced a stunning unbeaten 120 from just 55 balls faced that carried Australia to a 34-run win.
But even more fortuitous was Maxwell's pre-game pronouncement to his teammates that somebody in the Australia XI was destined to plunder a century on such a plum batting track, while staying silent on his inner belief that unidentified player would be him.
After contributing just 10 from eight deliveries in Australia's 11-run victory in the Dettol T20I Series opener at Hobart last Friday, Maxwell felt both frustrated and confident heading into last night's fixture on a pitch he rates as the best he's ever played on.
"I woke up this morning and I just had a funny feeling," Maxwell said after equalling India Test captain Rohit Sharma's world benchmark of five centuries in the T20I format.
"I don’t get it very often, and especially batting middle-order you don't get it often.
"But I just got a good look at their (West Indies) attack last game in Hobart, and felt like I got a good read of what they were bowling.
"I was disappointed getting out there in the same sort of scenario – short square boundaries with the ground quite similar, and another good wicket.
"So I felt like I'd missed out again, and I said 'you know what, I can't let this opportunity slip'.
"I said when I arrived (at Adelaide Oval) 'I feel like someone's getting a hundred tonight', and when I woke up this morning I felt like I was getting one.
"But you've still got to get the time and opportunity, and the time was probably perfect."
The opportunity arose because, after a blazing start by opener David Warner (22 off 19) and skipper Mitchell Marsh (29 off 12), Maxwell went to the middle with a foundation of 57 on the board and the best part of 15 overs remaining in the innings.
It vindicated his polite request to selection chair George Bailey and acting T20I team coach Daniel Vettori to be allowed to play in the Adelaide game, a call made partly because Maxwell's parents, Neil and Joy, were at the ground last night.
As Maxwell tells it, previous plans to have his parents come to Adelaide and watch him in action while value-adding to their trip with a visit to the world-famous Barossa Valley win region have ended in disaster.
The most recent was in November 2022 when, less than a week before Australia was to take on England in an ODI at Adelaide Oval, Maxwell was involved in a freak accident at a friend's party and suffered a broken fibula that sidelined him for the remainder of that home summer.
"Adelaide trips have been a little bit cursed for our family," Maxwell said last night after accepting player-of-the-match honours for his second-highest T20I score in Australia's highest-ever 20-over total on home soil.
"The last time they tried to book a trip to Adelaide I broke my leg, and while I was laying on the ground at my friend's place I called my mum and told her she should probably cancel her Adelaide trip.
"She was one of the first phone calls I made while I was in a bit of pain.
"Originally I was supposed to not be playing tonight, and I was going to be rested (but) I talked them into it (saying) 'I wouldn't mind playing this one, my family is going to be here'.
"So they (Australia team management) changed their mind which was nice.
"I just thought 'imagine if I was rested for this game, they've made the effort to come over here', but they had a Barossa tour yesterday so they're very happy."
Notwithstanding the premonition he experienced upon waking Sunday morning, Maxwell believes the seeds for his latest batting masterpiece were sown during his brief stay in the middle of Blundstone Arena last Friday night.
Despite being unable to find any rhythm during his innings, in which he stayed true to the team ethos of getting himself off strike so the 'set' batter – in that instance, it was Warner – could take a lion's share of the bowling, he was able to get a good read of the West Indies attack.
So when his chance came yesterday to get into the game early, armed with the knowledge he won't find better batting conditions against a bowling unit he felt comfortable in facing, he knew he had to maximise that confluence of events that rarely align.
"I was really focused out there," Maxwell said, having forged crucial partnerships with Marcus Stoinis (82 runs for the third wicket) and Tim David (an unbeaten 95 for the fourth).
"I was pretty calm and just really clear, I felt, the whole way through the innings.
"I made a few mistakes probably early in the innings where I felt like I got balls I could hit for boundaries and didn’t quite place them, and probably tried to over-play the ball.
"Then once I got a couple out of the middle, I was able to manipulate the field as much as I possibly could.
"I just gave myself a really good platform which is the recipe I've tried to give myself as much as I can at international level."
As much as Maxwell's remarkable power game – generated by the strength in his wrists and forearms as well as the speed in which he can get his hands through the ball – was a feature of an innings that yielded 12 boundaries and eight sixes, equally remarkable was his unerring placement.
It was most obvious when confronted by yorker-length deliveries landing on the crease line outside off stump, from where he was somehow able to open the bat face and send the ball hurtling through an infield gap to a section of the boundary where an outfielder also had no chance to stop it.
It's the sort of precision planning he was able to execute under extreme pressure and fatigue during his legendary double century against Afghanistan in Australia's recent ICC ODI World Cup triumph.
And while onlookers can only marvel at his capacity to so regularly find boundaries where no such options seem to exist, to Maxwell it seems almost the same as a devoted computer gamer operating a console.
"In my brain, I've got easy boundaries where I feel like I've moved the bowler into a position where I know where they're going to bowl, and I've got a gap in mind that I know I want to hit it to," he said when asked if he could articulate what it’s like to find himself batting 'in the zone'.
"And anything else I just try to react and adapt to.
"When I'm able to do that, I feel like I can control my scoring areas a little bit better, and the field that's in front of me.
"I felt like last game I just didn’t have that. It's amazing when you can get a read on a bowler and face multiple balls in a row and put them under pressure.
"Even if they bowl a good ball, you're in a good position."
"It was just a culmination of being really clear at the crease and knowing exactly what I wanted to do, and then actually get through to the end (of the innings) and have a bit of fun at the back end."
Men's Dettol T20I Series v West Indies
February 9: Australia won by 11 runs
February 11: Australia won by 34 runs
February 13: Perth Stadium, 7pm AEDT
Australia T20I squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Xavier Bartlett, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
West Indies T20I squad: Rovman Powell (c), Shai Hope, Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas