|Player:||AC Gilchrist, ML Hayden, RT Ponting, SM Katich, SR Watson|
|Event:||Commonwealth Bank Series 2006/07|
DateLine: 1st February 2007
Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist believes Matthew Hayden is the right man to partner him at the top of the order at the upcoming World Cup.
Hayden made the most of three missed chances, two before he reached double figures, to score his first one-day international century in almost two years against New Zealand in Perth on Sunday.
Hayden's 117 against the Black Caps was his first substantial score in the tri-series, having controversially been recalled to the Australian side for the tournament.
Gilchrist believes the century was the turning point for Hayden's endangered one-day career and said he was confident the big left-hander would be his opening partner in the West Indies.
"I fully expect Haydos to go to the World Cup," Gilchrist said here Monday. "I think he is re-establishing himself at the top of the order very well and he'll be much better for the innings the other night. "We started this series well by way of partnerships, and haven't had too many big ones since then, but that is something we will work on. It was really pleasing to see Haydos come through with an individual result. Hopefully that will settle him down and keep the concerns away about what that (opening) partnership is going to be."
Gilchrist has opened with the forgotten Simon Katich and the injury-plagued Queensland all-rounder Shane Watson recently, batting with Watson at last year's Champions Trophy. However, he said he was comfortable with his fellow 35-year-old at the other end.
"It feels like it has worked well when we have played together," he said of Hayden. "He is terrific to bat with and I think we complement each other pretty well."
Australian captain Ricky Ponting also threw his support behind Hayden.
"I think Matty started the series off really well, but let a couple of scores get away," he said. "Today was exactly what he was after and what the team was after. We can all look forward to some more big scores from him in the next couple of weeks."
Hayden admitted the World Cup was a significant carrot being dangled in front of him and was thrilled to score his first century since February 2005.
"I really enjoyed that hundred," Hayden said. "It was pretty frustrating at the start and could say it was lucky, but from the time I was dropped that second time it was a good performance. It was good to put a big score on the board - batting is confidence."
Hayden said he never lost belief he could succeed in one-day internationals, despite his extended absence from the team.
"It has been a frustrating few years - my record doesn't lie," he said. "When I was dropped I had a very good record."
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