North's long wait for baggy green pays off

Posted By: Staff

Leeds (UK), Aug.9 (ANI): Having scored his third century in six Tests on Saturday, Australian all-rounder Marcus North's long wait for the Baggy Green has finally paid off.

According to The Courier Mail, Saturday's hundred would have been North's fourth in six Tests had he not perished for 96 in the third Test at Edgbaston last week.

In four of his six Tests he has got in and stayed in. It has silenced the early chat that, despite two centuries in his first three Tests, North may have to drop out for Shane Watson to add extra bowling to the side.

Instead Watson has pushed out Hughes at the top of the order and North has carved his spot in granite.

North's quiet but profound achievements come after all the fuss that surrounded getting and keeping an inconsistent and ever more difficult Andrew Symonds into the side. Symonds scored two hundreds in 26 Tests before he completely unravelled.

There are a select group of batsmen who have scored three centuries in their first six Tests.

Only three Australians have done it in five Arthur Morris, Don Bradman and Mike Hussey.

It is fitting that Hussey is among them because as two long and loyal servants of Western Australia before getting the chance to play for their country, North used Hussey as his inspiration.

Hussey had made 15,313 first class runs, an Australian record before a Test debut, and was 30 when he was finally given his chance.

By comparison North was approaching a mere 9000 first class runs when he was called in to rebalance the side on the South African tour earlier this year.

North's 131st first class match was just his third Test and the first of this Ashes series, when he scored an unbeaten 125 in Cardiff to follow his debut century in Johannesburg earlier this year.

"It was a strange feeling," North, 29, said recently about waiting so long to play for his country.

"Mike Hussey had gone through the same thing and that's probably what kept me going. I'm a bit of a realist. I've got a good perception on things and realise it's not that easy getting to the elite level. For the first half of my career the Australian batting order was set in cement. You keep hanging on and each year you get closer to 30 you think it's slipping by. The last 18 months, I knew there was going to be some movement in the team through retirements and that kept my hopes up," said North.

With 349 runs at 70 in the series, it's been worth the wait. (ANI)

Story first published: Sunday, August 9, 2009, 13:47 [IST]
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