What. A. Ball.
Known for his infectious smile, brilliant humour and god-given ability to chirp all day on the field, Adam Gilchrist is without a doubt a household favourite among the cricketing community.
During his illustrious 12-year international career, Gilchrist represented Australia in 96 Test matches and scored 5,570 runs, which included 17 centuries and 26 half-centuries, at a magnificent average of 47.60.
He also played 287 ODIs and amassed 9,619 runs, which included 16 centuries and 55 half-centuries at an average of 35.89.
Gilchrist didn’t take part in many Twenty20 Internationals since the format only started to blossom towards the end of his career. However, in the 13 Twenty20 Internationals he did manage to play, Gilchrist accumulated 272 runs at an average of 22.66.
Seven years after he retired from international cricket, Gilchrist’s impact both on and off the field have finally been recognised. It was recently announced that he would be joining an elite club of players in the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
In commemoration of Gilly’s induction, I have compiled the ten best innings of his professional career.
10. 144 versus Sri Lanka at Kandy 2004
Gilchrist’s vital knock of 144 in the second innings of the match helped Australia skirt past Sri Lanka by a tense 27 runs. But, more importantly, it also gave the baggy greens an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
9. 124 versus England at Melbourne 2002
This was Gilchrist’s highest score at the time and first century against arch-rivals England. During this knock, Gilchrist smashed 12 boundaries and four sixes as he took 104 balls to make 124 runs.
8. 94 versus ICC World XI at Sydney 2005
In the one-off Test between Australia and the ICC World XI, Gilchrist impressed those in attendance by scoring a dazzling 94, during which he struck eight boundaries and four sixes.
What makes the knock that much more brilliant is the fact that Gilchrist was up against an all-star team, which featured players like Virender Sehwag, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Muttiah Muralitharan and Andrew Flintoff.
7. 100 versus South Africa at Sydney 1998
During the second final of the 1998 Carlton and United Series, Gilchrist accomplished the first of many milestones in his international career as he scored his maiden ODI century.
6. 149 not out versus Pakistan at Hobart 1999
This is one of those knocks that Gilchrist will never forget since it was the first time he reached triple figures in a Test match. Gilchrist’s unbeaten 149 played a vital role in the match as it led Australia to a four-wicket win.
5. 103 versus ICC World XI at Melbourne 2005
This is one of the biggest achievements of Gilly’s professional career as he scored a century against the ICC World XI, which included superstars like Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara, Shaun Pollock and Shoaib Akhtar.
4. 172 versus Zimbabwe at Hobart 2004
This is Gilchrist’s highest ODI score and forever shall be since he retired from international cricket in 2008. During this knock, Gilchrist hit 13 boundaries and three sixes.
3. 204 not out versus South Africa at Johannesburg 2002
This was Gilly’s highest score in Test cricket. During his magnificent innings, Gilchrist hammered 19 boundaries and eight sixes as Australia went on to pummel South Africa by an innings and 360 runs.
2. 102 not out versus England at Perth 2006
Pretty much every cricket fan around the world remembers Gilchrist just missing out on Sir Vivian Richard’s record for the fastest Test century. He blitzed his way to 100 off just 57 balls during the third Ashes Test against England in the 2006/07 series.
While this knock has now fallen to the third-fastest Test century in history thanks to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, no one will ever forget the 12 boundaries and four sixes Gilchrist hit during that magical innings.
1. 149 versus Sri Lanka at Barbados 2007
The 149 Gilchrist scored in the 2007 World Cup final against Sri Lanka has to take the cake since it not only helped Australia win the match by 53 runs, but it also led to them retaining the World Cup for the third consecutive tournament. It is the knock that every cricketer dreams of playing, but it was Gilchrist who accomplished it during his last World Cup.
This is exactly why this knock deserves to occupy the top spot on this list since it is the one innings Gilchrist will forever be remembered for.