Haynes elated after century a decade in the making | Sydney Thunder - BBL
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Haynes elated after century a decade in the making

08 October 2019

Rachael Haynes

Australia's vice-captain finally broke through for three-figures in international cricket

There was something special in the way Rachael Haynes' teammates celebrated in the dugout as the 32-year-old brought up her first international hundred at Allan Border Field on Monday.

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The beaming smiles and triumphant cheers, ten years in the making for their vice-captain who always, always puts the team first.

More a decade ago now, Haynes earned her Baggy Green as a fresh faced 22-year-old in Worcester.

As far as dream debuts go, Haynes got awfully close.

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Until Monday, her 98 on Test debut was the closest she's been to triple figures in the 116 matches she's played for Australia since.

Haynes, who has at different points and for different reasons, found herself on the outskirts of the Australian setup, was elated to have reached her century.

"When you get moments like that, it's obviously really nice and makes all those little sacrifices worthwhile," Haynes said after her maiden international ton helped Australia to a series-sealing win.

"It's great reward for the work you have to put in at this level.

"I guess over the last little bit, I haven't found scoring runs that easy, so it was nice to make the most of it today."

The past year has seen Haynes rotate between her usual position at the top of the ODI order, with a few cameo appearances at the No.5 spot.

Since scoring 79 in an ODI against Pakistan on October 18, Haynes was able to pass the 30-run mark just three times in her past nine 50-over games for Australia.

The left-hander reached a half-century in the opening one-day game against Sri Lanka on Saturday and seemed destined for a big score, before falling short on 56.

However, the fire in the belly was ignited. From the moment her captain won the toss on Monday, Haynes knew the opportunity was there for the taking.

It's always a momentous occasion, watching a player lift off their helmet to salute the crowd after an international hundred.

However, when the crowd has an understanding – as they seemed to at Allan Border Field – of the journey towards a milestone that had seemed increasingly unattainable, the occasion is made all the more special.

But had the Australian vice-captain, opening batter and one of the most reliable heads in the team been dwelling on her inability to break into triple figures?

Of course not. For Haynes, the team comes first.

"It's probably more what outsiders look at," Haynes said.

"For me, when I play the game I always try and score runs and do whatever the situation requires."

That said, there came a time during Haynes' quintessentially considered innings that she started to think: could this be the innings to get it done?

As has been the case for many years, the nervous nineties only need come into the equation once the hurdle of being on 87, considered the unluckiest number in Australian cricket, had been cleared.

"Funnily enough, I was actually more nervous when I was 87 because in the Test match earlier this year I got out on that number," she said.

"I thought surely I can't be that unlucky again to get out on that number.

"So I was pretty keen to get off that as soon as I could."

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Haynes' innings was typical of the level-headed Australian vice-captain. Rotate the strike, keep the scoreboard ticking, capitalise where possible.

Her masterclass of an innings ended on a career best 118 from 132 balls. 

"Once I got into the nineties, I just sort of knew to keep doing what I was doing," she said.

"I remember last time when I was in the nineties in a Test match and went for a big shot, just thought if I ever get close again – I am not doing that.

"When I was on 99 and she sort of tossed a couple up, I thought no, that's not the one, not the one…

"And then she gave me that one outside off and I was just like, yep, that's the one.

"Nice and relaxed, it was nice to have Ellyse (Perry) down the other end to help get me through it."

Haynes' hundred was among a list of milestones crossed off by the Australian women during the 110-run win in the second ODI against Sri Lanka.

Jess Jonassen claimed her 100th career ODI wicket, while debutante Heather Graham took her first.

In the third and final ODI of the series on Wednesday, Australia will aim to win a record 18th consecutive match in the format, which would outlast the previous streak of 17 set by the Belinda Clarke-led Australian side in from 1997 until 1999.

Sydney Thunder is set to open the first ever standalone WBBL season with a blockbuster Sydney Smash against crosstown rivals the Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on Friday 18 October.

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