Ranchi: His voice choking in emotion, Australia's Glenn Maxwell today said he did not want the ongoing second Test against India to be his last, as a "sleepless night" gave way to a dream day for the maiden centurion.
Making a Test comeback after more than two years, Maxwell hit a career-best 104 and put on 191 runs with skipper Steve Smith (178) to take Australia to 451.
Known for his exploits in the shorter formats, Maxwell had got opportunities in Tests thrice and failed in all of them. The 28-year-old got a lucky call-up after a shoulder injury ruled out Mitchell Marsh.
"I know how bad it felt when I played that last game in Dubai and didn't play again and I know how bad that felt. I just wanted to make it count, every opportunity I get.
"To get back in the side in the first place was something I really held close to my heart. I was so happy to be able to walk back on the field with the Australian Test team with the Baggy Green cap on and I was just filled with joy when I got told I had the opportunity to do that again."
Maxwell was axed after Australia were blanked 0-2 in the two match series in 2014. He scored 37 and 4, while in bowling returned 0/78 as Australia lost to Pakistan by 356 runs in the second Test.
Maxwell has now become the 13th player to score centuries in all three formats of the game.
"I thought about it all night. I went through about 300 to 400 different scenarios that could've happened the next day, most of them weren't good. Even thinking about it now I've got a frog in my throat.
"It's as special a moment as I've had in my career and hopefully it's not the last. So much emotion fell out of me as soon as I got that hundred."
He hoped that he would be able to keep his Test career on the right track from now on.
"Hopefully, it just ticks something inside that I can continue to be consistent. If I can keep producing long innings and batting long periods of time, building partnerships with other players that's going to go a long way to firstly holding my spot and secondly winning games for Australia.
Showering praise on Smith, Maxwell hoped to take inspiration from his skipper, who started as a leg-spin all-rounder and now has 19 Test tons in 53rd matches.
"He probably lifts the team to another level because he makes the game look so easy as well. We watch him play and everyone is in awe of the way he goes about it, he does it in such a different, unique way and he owns that.
"He doesn't care what people say about his technique. He knows he has his technique doubters. So he's a guy that people feed off. And he's a very inspirational leader with the way he's gone about his career.
In the process, Smith became the third fastest to get to 5000 runs.
"He obviously had his doubters, when he came into the team he was a leg-spinning all-rounder, batting at 8 or 9. So what a turnaround he has had.
"I know that is a long way off, but I would love to be able to follow in his footsteps and change my career from how I started," Maxwell said.
The key to holding on to his position would be to contribute with his off-spin as well.
"I'll try and keep both sides of my game as much as I can. The way Steve's game has gone and with the captaincy he's solely focused on being a batsman in the team.
"But if I'm going to be playing the role that I play this Test at number six, I have to be giving something else in the team. You can't get by being a fielder and a batsman, you need the extra string to your bow when you're at number six."
Maxwell and Smith revived Australia after India took two quick wickets to reduce them to 140/4 in the first session of day one.
"Obviously yesterday I came in at a time when it was a bit of a tricky situation. I think we were 140/4, and luckily I had Steve at the other end, who is quite experienced.
"Worked really well with him, the ball was reverse swinging and tried to play as straight as I could and keep my pads out of the way. The plan was pretty simple - to keep doing that for as long as possible and try to keep the Indian team out on their feet for as long as possible."
He opined that the Indians bowled loose deliveries, which helped their cause.
"That was obviously the plan when we came out today. We were lucky, they bowled a few loose balls to start off the day. We were able to score freely at the start of the day."
Maxwell said they could have prolonged their partnership.
"It was unfortunate when I did because we could have made it a 200-250 partnership that could have really driven the game a long way forward for us. In saying that we would've taken 450 at the start.
Published Date: Mar 17, 2017 11:13 pm | Updated Date: Mar 17, 2017 11:13 pm