“Try 48 degrees in Sharjah you weak bastards,” he says.

October 12. 10:30

Greg Salmon | Editor

48 fuckin’ degrees, read the thermometer in Sharjah on October 11, 2002. The measurement was taken during lunch on day one of the 2nd test between Pakistan and Australia. Don’t believe me? I have the proof below.

Other accounts state that it even reached 51 degrees – regardless, it was fuckin’ hot. But Australian opener Matthew Hayden did not care. “Nah mate, I’m a Queenslander,” he says. “She was alright.” After trouncing Pakistan for 59 in 31.5 overs, Hayden went to work. “It was chaos mate. Shoaib Akhtar was trying to kill me, bodies were going down everywhere. I loved it. It was like playing State of Origin.”

Puffing out his enormous chest like a true Queenslander, Hayden swept his way to 74* at stumps – Australia finishing on 4/191. “We needed another Queenslander in the batting order,” he explains. “It read WA, QLD, TAS, NSW, NSW, WA, WA, VIC, NSW, QLD, NSW. Guess who got the only hundred?”

After spending 79.5 overs in the furnace on day one, Hayden reached his century before lunch on day two. “All I was thinking, was do it for Queensland,” he says. When I raised my bat, I wasn’t acknowledging my teammates. I was pointing to Queensland’s geographic coordinates”. Hayden was finally dismissed for 119 by Suqlain Mushtaq. To this day, the big Queenslander cannot believe it. “I was off the field for one ball. ONE ball. You know what happened? McGrath got a golden duck. Bloody typical. At least Bichel finished on 2 not out.”

Australia wrapped up the match by an innings and 198 runs on the second day, somehow further degrading Pakistan in the process. After receiving his MOM award, Hayden wasn’t interested in any team celebrations. “I grabbed Andy Bichel, my surfboard, and an esky of Milton mangoes, and pissed off to the nearest beach. We both agreed it was shit. Nothing like Queensland.”

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