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After a long wait, Haddin gets a 4th test hundred

December 6, 2013

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — After three years and some very close calls, time and luck were on Brad Haddin’s side at the Adelaide Oval on Friday in the second Ashes test.

The 36-year-old wicketkeeper finally got his fourth test century, and didn’t mind how he got there.

He was dropped cold when he was on 5 near the end of day one, was lucky to avoid being run out early on the second morning and started walking back to the pavilion on 51 when he nicked first-test allrounder Ben Stokes to Matt Prior. At that stage, he’d shared a 110-run partnership with his skipper Michael Clarke to revive Australia’s first innings after a couple of shaky sessions.

But then he got what cricketers call a “life” when the umpire recalled him because replays showed Stokes over-stepped the crease and bowled a no-ball.

Haddin made the most of his reprieves, clouting five sixes and 11 boundaries in his 118 and sharing a 200-run stand with Clarke to help Australia to 570-9 declared.

“You need to have a bit of luck in this game. You can do all the technique you want, but everyone needs luck,” Haddin said. “I had my fair share.”

There’s been a lot of personal upheaval between test hundreds for Haddin, who had to leave a tour to West Indies suddenly due to his daughter’s serious illness in 2012 and subsequently lost his standing as Australia’s No. 1 wicketkeeper to Matthew Wade.

Wade was still in decent form when Haddin was recalled — as vice-captain — after an exodus of senior players including Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey left a serious leadership vacuum in the Australian team.

With his long innings and then duties with the gloves — keeping to paceman Mitchell Johnson bowling at more than 150 kph (93 mph) — Haddin spent almost the whole day on the field on Friday.

The rewards were big, though, as he got his first hundred since the Ashes series in 2010. Just as he did in Australia’s 381-run win in the first test, Haddin went to the crease with Australia in a precarious position. Just as he did in Brisbane, he knuckled down.

In the first test, he ran himself out for 94, sacrificing his wicket to end the Australian first innings so the bowlers could get some time to attack England. He got another half century in the second innings in Brisbane and a fitting celebration for his 50th test.

And while he rued missing out on triple figures with his children in the stadium in Brisbane, he was glad it didn’t take him long to make up for that.

“Where the game was at, it’s a pretty important one, especially the partnership with Michael,” Haddin said.

He and Stokes exchanged some words after Haddin was called back to the crease after the no-ball, but nothing even bordering on the animosity between players in the first test. Haddin said he could only react with humor.

“I don’t know what he said. I didn’t bowl the no-ball,” he said, laughing. “I was shocked. I was on my way off to get a cold drink and Michael said come back. I had my fair share of luck out there over the last couple of days.”

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