Born entertainer: Andrew Symonds' top five moments
Remembering some classic 'Roy', from his all-round exploits, his fence-clearing hitting, to his wondrous World Cup and Ashes hundreds
15 May 2022, 10:14 AM AEST
Whether he was thumping runs, taking wickets or fielding like a demon, Andrew Symonds was a larger-than-life figure in Australian cricket.
To remember some of the magic created by the man they called 'Roy', we've taken a look at five of his finest moments.
5. 72 & 3-50 v SA, MCG, Dec 2005
Andrew Symonds made a first-ball duck in the first innings of this match, which served to further sharpen the knives of those who suggested he would never transfer his one-day brilliance into the Test arena. With the ball, his medium pacers then captured 3-50, which must have stirred his confidence; second time around, he carted six sixes in an astonishing 54-ball 72. Australia won the match comfortably and Symonds was on his way in whites.
4. 151 v SL, SCG, Feb 2006
Sri Lanka were one-nil up in the VB Series and sniffing a finals whitewash when they had Australia 3-10 in the third over of this one-day international. Enter Symonds. Teaming up with Ricky Ponting (124), the big Queenslander bullied the Sri Lankan attack to all parts, smashing 151 from 127 balls, including three sixes. His innings propelled the hosts to a monster 5-368. Sri Lanka didn’t get close as Symonds chipped in with two wickets to complete a player-of-the-match display.
3. 162no v Ind, SCG, Jan 2008
This one was littered with – and ultimately overshadowed by – controversy, but in the end, it was also a match-winning knock. Symonds entered the SCG cauldron with the score at 6-134, and India desperate to square the series and prevent Ricky Ponting’s side from equalling a world record 16 Test match wins on the trot. After surviving a huge shout for caught behind, and having been given the benefit of the doubt in a perilously close stumping decision, he proceeded to set Sydney alight with a breathtaking rear-guard performance. It was his second and final Test hundred, and it paved the way for one of Test cricket’s most dramatic victories.
2. 156 v England, MCG, Dec 2006
Symonds got his chance to add to Australian cricket folklore in an Ashes whitewash after the sudden retirement of Damien Martyn. He took it spectacularly at the MCG, his first Test century brought up with a six as he again rescued Australia from a precarious position. Joining good mate Matthew Hayden in the middle with the scoreboard reading 5-84, Symonds changed the course of the contest with the sort of counter-punching innings usually reserved for Adam Gilchrist. He and Hayden (153) put on 279 for the sixth wicket, snuffing out any hint of an England fightback and putting Australia on course for a four-nil series lead.
1. 143no v Pak, New Wanderers, Feb 2003
This was the breakthrough knock that launched a superb career. With Australia’s World Cup defence already rocked by Shane Warne’s diuretics scandal, a shift in momentum was dramatically needed. Symonds provided it, and how. His selection in the squad – let alone the starting XI – the subject of intense speculation after just 69 runs in his previous seven innings, Symonds loomed as the unlikeliest hero in Australia’s batting line-up. Yet when the score slipped to 4-86, he strode to the crease and set about taking control. Some 34 overs later, he was still there, having guided Australia to a mammoth 8-310 with the innings he will forever be remembered for: 143 not out from 125 balls, including 18 fours and two sixes. Pakistan’s much-vaunted attack of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi had been cut to ribbons, and the Australians were on their way to an undefeated World Cup triumph.
An edited version of this article first appeared on cricket.com.au in 2015