Waugh feared for his Sydney farewell

Steve Waugh thought he had broken his arm when he retired hurt while batting in the first innings.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2003 12:33 IST

Steve Waugh thought he had broken his arm when he retired hurt while batting in the first innings of Australia's nine-wicket third Test win over India and feared he would miss his grand Test farewell.

Waugh thought initially he would not make the series-decider in Sydney starting on Friday after he was struck on his left elbow by a lifting Agit Agarkar delivery before lunch on Sunday's third day.

The tenacious 38-year-old Test warrior later returned to play a stoic innings of 19 with captain-in-waiting Ricky Ponting as Australia built a 192-run innings lead over the Indians which ultimately proved decisive in the outcome.

At his post-Test press conference on Tuesday Waugh revealed he feared he had broken the arm after ducking into the Agarkar lifter.

"I honestly thought I had broken my arm because I've been hit many times before in my career and whilst the lump looked ugly that actually wasn't the problem," Waugh said.

"It was actually gripping the bat, I had a sharp pain down my arm and I thought 'this might be it', but I was always going to get back out there at some stage, but I didn't really know whether I would make it to Sydney."

Waugh said he would definitely be playing in his 168th and final Test in Sydney after X-rays cleared him of any fracture.

Waugh has been on a national lap of honour around the Test venues during the series against India and Tuesday's victory was the first time things appeared to go right for the most successful captain in Test history after setbacks in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Waugh, who has won 41 out of his 56 Tests as skipper, received an adoring farewell from a surprising final day crowd of just over 29,000, inflated by free admission.

It was all a precursor to what will be an emotional final chapter in Sydney.

"I had a good taste of it last year (he scored 102 against England with his position under pressure) when it could have possibly been my last, it's my second time round, it was a dress rehearsal last year," he said.

"This time it's in happier circumstances, probably less pressure.

"I'm just going to try and enjoy it. I know it's going to be difficult at times with a lot on, but these things only happen once in your life and I want to make it a positive experience as I can."

Waugh said he was relishing the added pressure of a series-decider in his final Test appearance.

"That's good, you like it that way, you want pressure, you want the occasion, the best teams and the best players lift in the big occasions, the more at stake and more on the game, then the better we play," said Waugh, who is renowned as one of modern-day cricket's greatest fighters.

"You enjoy a real good contest, the last six Test matches against India have been all great contests, you couldn't have better cricket.

"It's an uncomfortable pressure when you're one-nil down (in a series) but it's something you occasionally need to lift yourselves and we lifted in this game.

"We came back well, end of day one we were still in trouble and we fought our way out of it and that's a sign of a good side."

Asked if he believed Australia now had the momentum over India in the series with leading pace bowler Jason Gillespie fit again to play in Sydney, Waugh said: "Yeah, against most sides bar India.

"We've learnt that over the last couple of series that it's been fluctuating every game and you can't take anything for granted. I don't know what's going to happen in Sydney, but I know it will be a good match."

First Published: Dec 30, 2003 12:33 IST