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banner Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 12:41 GMT
Making Hay in India
Matthew Hayden hits a six during his double century in Chennai
Hayden has used the sweep to good effect in India
BBC Sport Online profiles Australian opener Matthew Hayden, the surprise packet of their Indian tour.

When Matthew Hayden arrived in India, the home side may have perceived him as a possible weak link in the Australian line-up.

Known to be happiest facing fast bowling, the left handed opener had a modest record with his only century in 13 Test appearances coming in 1997.

But, instead, Hayden has proved the mainstay of Australia's batting and his score of 203 in Chennai helped him total 549 runs in six innings.

Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden
Adam Gilchrist and Hayden celebrate centuries in Mumbai

The seeds of his success were sown during a visit to Chennai three years ago.

He pleaded to be included in a small group of batsmen and spinners sent for training in Indian conditions by the Australian Cricket Academy.

Hayden used the opportunity to gain an insight into the minds of quality spinners from indian masters Bishan Singh Bedi and Srinivas Venkataraghavan.

"I have'nt forgotten the lessons learnt then," he said.

Hayden was urged to target the number one spinner in opposition ranks and taught to sweep with conviction.

His plan for the current series was to launch an all-out attack to make the spinners falter in line and length.

matthew Hayden is dismissed by Courtney Walsh
Hayden struggled in the home series against West Indies

The sweep shot, frequently executed from well outside the off stump, has been his most productive shot, both in securing runs and subduing the spirits of Indian spinners.

"It was Bob Simpson who really impressed upon me the benefits of confidently executing the sweep," he said.

Hayden's form has been a revelation, even to some of his more illustrious teammates.

He scored 119 in the first innings of the opening Test in Bombay and then added an unbeaten 28 as the Aussies won by 10 wickets.

At Calcutta, he missed a century by three runs in the first innings but was still the star batman with scores of 97 and 67.

Hayden batting for Northamptonshire in the County Championship
Leading Northants to promotion last summer

Hayden crowned his efforts with his 203, which came from 320 balls and included six sixes and 15 fours.

"My experience of English County cricket was a big help. Out there I got the opportunity to bat a lot against different types of spinners.

"I learnt the importance of remaining  patient and be very positive," he said.

The former Northamptonshire captain will return to England this summer for his first Ashes tour.

Nasser Hussain's men should beware.

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See also:

16 Mar 01 |  India v Australia
Supermen turn mortal
18 Mar 01 |  India v Australia
Haydo, haircuts and one hundred
27 Jul 00 |  Cricket
Fishing for success
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