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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Five of Hussain's best
By Scott Heinrich

As Nasser Hussain calls time on his England career, BBC Sport recalls some of his greatest innings.

106 v New Zealand, 1st Test, Christchurch 2002

Nasser Hussain
Hussain's century at Christchurch was scored against all odds

The definitive captain's knock. Hussain entered the fray on day one with England 0-2 on a green-top drop-in pitch.

The match was best remembered for the rapid double centuries scored by Graham Thorpe and Nathan Astle, but they were in the third and fourth innings when the laboratory-prepared pitch had flattened out.

Things were vastly different when Hussain rolled up his sleeves on the opening morning, and he defied the conditions to score 106 in a team total of 228 that set up a 98-run win.

"When you took guard you could see the moisture underneath," he later said.

"Even when I put my bat down after my second ball it slipped on the green grass, so I knew it would zip around a bit."

207 v Australia, 1st Test, Edgbaston 1997

Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe
Hussain and Thorpe pulverised Australia at Edgbaston in 1997

Hussain's highest Test score instilled hope in England fans that the long wait against the old enemy might be over.

Certainly, it was difficult to see how Australia could come back and win the series after they were dismissed for just 118 in the first innings.

Victory, eventually achieved by nine wickets, was assured by the record 288-run stand between Hussain and Graham Thorpe as England replied with 478-9 declared.

"This was classical batting, orthodox and artistic, the kind that captivates the imagination of the young," wrote TMS commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins.

"Hussain hit 38 fours, the great majority through extra cover with a grace his sister, a professional ballerina, could not have bettered."

116 v South Africa, 3rd Test, Trent Bridge 2003

For the first time in his career, Hussain was under genuine pressure for his spot after relinquishing the Test captaincy and starting the series with a run of low scores.

On a typically capricious Trent Bridge pitch, Hussain came in with the score 29-2 and showed how deep his reserves run to lay the foundations for a series-levelling win.

Putting on 189 with fellow centurion Mark Butcher, Hussain played a knock that was high on obduracy and even higher on poignancy.

"This hundred means more to me than any other hundred. I was pretty nervous in the 90s," Hussain said afterwards.

"It's mentally been a difficult few weeks for me so it was important to dig deep. I'll remember the ovation I got and not the squirts through gully."

109 v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Kandy 2001

Nasser Hussain
Hussain countered the magic of Murali to score a memorable century in Kandy

In the grip of the worst form of his career, Hussain and England ventured to Kandy - home ground of Muttiah Muralitharan.

As skipper, the load was doubly heavy on Hussain after England had lost by an innings in the first Test, where Murali had twice dismissed him in single figures.

His previous 12 Tests had yielded 244 runs at an average of 12, but with Hussain form was always temporary, and single-mindedness permanent.

His important contribution paved the way for England to draw level before going on to claim the series.

115 v India, NatWest Series final, Lord's 2002

Hussain's only limited-overs century was littered with belligerent strokeplay - and lashes of venom directed not only at the India attack.

He directed three gloved fingers at the press throng in celebration after some had suggested he was not the right man to bat at number three.

Hussain's 128-ball 155 propelled England to a total of 325-5, but not to victory as India won with three balls to spare.

"It wasn't directed at anyone in particular - one or two have been on my case for a while," he said of his gesture.

"But I'd rather have got nought today and won the game."


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