SYDNEY, Apr 20 (Reuters) Australia was in a state of incredulity today, agog at Jason Gillespie's record double century in the second test against Bangladesh.
The lanky fast bowler became the first nightwatchman to score a test double hundred when he faced 425 balls and batted for nearly 10 hours for an unbeaten 201 in Chittagong.
''It's unbelievable, a fairytale really,'' said the player nicknamed Dizzy. ''Hansel and Gretel and Dizzy's double hundred they're one and the same. An absolute fairytale.'' Gillespie, who achieved the feat yesterday as he celebrated his 31st birthday, became only the fifth nightwatchman to make a test century before going on to almost quadruple his previous best score of 54.
''Considering Jason hadn't scored a century in any form of cricket, it was an amazing innings,'' Australia coach John Buchanan said. ''For a nightwatchman to sustain an innings of over 400 balls is something we may never see again.'' Australians were astonished by the feat of a player who had never batted higher than number eight for his country apart from a few appearances as nightwatchman, averaging just over 15.
''You had to be here to believe it,'' said Australia selector and former fast bowler Merv Hughes.
Gillespie's effort in his 71st test lifted him above a host of great Australian batsmen in the highest individual test-innings charts, including Steve Waugh (200), David Boon (200) and Mark Waugh (153).
Gillespie, dropped last year after a disappointing Ashes series in England, is likely to have a bat made in his honour, with DZ201 the most likely name, but he remained typically modest.
''This is ridiculous, I was just lucky that the shots came off and I had a bit of a laugh all the way,'' he said after hitting 26 fours and two sixes.
The Sydney Morning Herald summed up Gillespie's achievement.
''Many better innings, but none more astonishing,'' a headline ran.
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