Domain Tests v Sri Lanka
KP's ton of joy for ex-Aussie skipper
Great pride for a former Australia captain when Kurtis Patterson brought up his maiden Test century
Andrew Ramsey at Manuka Oval
2 February 2019, 08:40 PM AEST
Kurtis Patterson's maiden Test century brought beaming joy to his parents in the Robert Menzies Stand.
And it repeatedly drew the focus of his St George teammates who were following his progress from on the field, as updates flashed across the electronic scoreboard at Sydney's Hurstville Oval.
But there was nobody feeling greater pride when the tall, elegant left-hander caressed a ball through extra cover to reach 100 than former Australia Test captain Brian Booth, who stood and applauded and shed a tear.
Fittingly, the 85-year-old was ensconced in Manuka Oval's Sir Donald Bradman Stand, given that all three men – Patterson, Booth and Bradman – have formed part of St George's proud cricket legacy that stretches back more than 100 years.
Booth had not yet celebrated his first birthday when Bradman famously quit Sydney and moved to Adelaide, but he has been a significant figure in the development of Patterson's cricket and character over the past decade or more.
"I've had a lot to do with Brian, particularly when I was younger," Patterson said tonight, as he basked in the acclaim of an unbeaten 114 that lifted Australia to a first innings total of 5(dec)-534 to which Sri Lanka has replied with 3-123 at the end of day two.
"Obviously with the schedule the way it is these days, you don't get back to your club side as much we'd like to.
"But Brian was really good to me, ever since I was an up-and-comer at St George.
"He shot me a message after Brisbane (where Patterson made his Test debut last week) and mentioned that he was going to head down to Canberra.
"I've not seen him as yet, but he's a wonderful person and he's been a really nice help for me."
Booth, who played 29 Tests and captained in two of those in addition to being an Australia hockey representative, admitted today he was moved to tears by the sight of the lad he has seen progress from club, to state, to international ranks fulfil every young batter's dream.
And while that moment did not stir within him memories of his own first Test hundred, scored at the Gabba against Ted Dexter's England Ashes team in 1962, it did prompt his wife, Judy, to marvel at the similarity in emotions it yielded.
"It took my wife back to it," Booth told cricket.com.au today.
"She said 'I was quite emotional watching Kurtis get that hundred because it reminded me of you getting your first hundred'.
"I was just delighted for him.
"It is a moving moment, you have the dream of playing cricket for Australia – and Kurtis has fulfilled that dream – but to get that three-figure score against your name is another big milestone on the way through."
There are comparisons that can be made between the two Sydney-siders, even if Booth was a nimble right-hander who enjoyed dancing down the pitch to attack the spinners while Patterson admits to being more languid and likes to "lean" into the ball and rely on timing.
Booth was 22 when he made his Sheffield Shield debut for New South Wales against Ken 'Slasher' McKay's Queensland in 1955, while Patterson became the youngest Blue to score a Shield century on debut when achieved the feat aged 18 in 2011.
But both underwent lengthy waits before their obvious talent was recognised by Australia's selectors.
Booth was 27 when he got the call-up during the 1961 Ashes series in England, and Patterson played a further seven years of domestic cricket before earning a Baggy Green Cap at the Gabba last week.
Booth maintains the prolonged apprenticeship he served ultimately proved beneficial to ensuring his game was in the best possible shape when promotion ultimately arrived, and he sees the same benefits instilled in Patterson.
"He's always had that composure about him, and you could see that he had obvious talent," Booth said today at Manuka Oval, where he and Judy were guests of Cricket ACT at the venue's inaugural Test match.
"It was just a matter of him getting the opportunity to work his way through grade cricket up to first grade, and get the other opportunities that he's had since then.
"It takes time to get experience, and then wisdom comes into your game.
"He can play shots, and he picks the ball to score off, plus he's got good concentration.
"And he uses his feet pretty well to the spinners.
"He's got all those basic attributes that you need to score, and to be a successful batsman.
"I don’t think he has to do anything different to what he's been doing to continue to make the progress that he's made."
Booth says a turning point in his cricket journey was the lessons he gleaned playing a wealth of three-day games against English county teams on that 1961 tour, in the company of teammates including Neil Harvey, Bill Lawry, Bob Simpson, Norm O'Neill and Richie Benaud.
He claimed that even if he had not been selected for the final two Ashes matches at Old Trafford and The Oval and had returned to Australia in late 1961 without playing a Test, he was an infinitely better batsman for the experiences he gained.
Likewise, Patterson's inclusion in Australia's Test XI came on the strength of first-class runs scored in tour fixtures (Australia A matches against India and Sri Lanka) and he now has his gaze set on a possible role in Australia's squad for this year's Ashes campaign.
In the short-term, he has earmarked a place in the Australia A squad for the UK tour that precedes the Ashes series and is yet to decide if he will seek out a county deal to further enhance his experience in English conditions during the upcoming northern summer.
Regardless of whether that ambition comes to fruition, he backs his technique to cope with the swinging ball that proved the undoing of his top-order teammates against Sri Lanka last Friday, and has largely been responsible for Australia's failure to win an away Ashes series since 2001.
"It's always been something I'd really like to do, to go and play country cricket," Patterson said today.
"I like playing when the ball's moving, to be honest.
"Generally there's more slips, bowlers are more attacking and the captains are more attacking so there's a few more gaps in the field for someone like myself who doesn't really try and hit the ball too hard.
"I just like to lean on the ball and time it, so in my experiences I like it when the ball is moving.
"It's obviously a different challenge and it brings in more modes of dismissal, but I think I go okay against the moving ball."
Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka
Australia: Tim Paine (c/wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Chamika Karunaratne, Vishwa Fernando
First Test: Australia won by an innings and 40 runs
Second Test: February 1-5, Canberra