Brad Haddin, tough as teak and in the form of his life, has been around long enough to know what really counts. “You need to have luck in this game,” he said after scoring his fourth Test hundred yesterday. “You can have all the technique you want but everyone needs to have luck. I had my share.”
But like all players who have been around the block, he did not dwell on his luck, he made the most of it. He made England pay. Haddin should have been caught when he was five, he could have been run out when he was 17, he was out when he was 51 only to be reprieved when it was discovered that Ben Stokes had bowled a no-ball.
Haddin almost scored a hundred in the opening Test in Brisbane only to be run out six runs short after rescuing Australia’s first innings and, it seems, turning the tide irrevocably his side’s way. He was not at all disconcerted by all that happened to him yesterday, he merely bludgeoned another six in the direction of cow corner.
Together with his captain, Michael Clarke, Haddin put on 200, Australia’s highest partnership for the sixth wicket at Adelaide. Clarke’s innings was the work of a superior craftsman, mixing adept footwork with quick hands and confident decision-making.
“You can make a good argument for him being the best batsman in the world at the moment,” Haddin said. “When he gets past 20 he seems to go on and score a big hundred.
“You have seen since Michael took over as captain his batting has gone to a new level. He has scored more than 1,000 runs at Adelaide and averages more than 100 here so I wasn’t surprised by that.”
Clarke has scored 3,221 runs as Australia’s captain at an average of 64.42. The latter figure is inferior only to Don Bradman (101.52 in 24 matches) but Clarke has often played a lone hand in his 31 matches leading this side. It may be instructive that four of Australia’s last five captains have all had batting averages above 50 when captain. The only exception was Mark Taylor and he is generally deemed to be the most astute leader.
The sixth-wicket pair were at their most effective in the first session of the second day, when they rode their fortune and attacked freely and determinedly. They put on 116 before lunch in what was meant to be a significant session.
Neither Haddin nor Stokes was willing to talk about the argument they had after the no-ball reprieve. “I don’t know what he said, I didn’t bowl the no-ball,” said Haddin.
The tension between the sides was simmering at that point but as Australia opened their shoulders again, England seemed to find arguing pointless. They were wise to save their energy for other matters.