It took him 45 matches, 43 innings and two-and-a-half years but Australia’s Glenn Maxwell finally got a one-day international century on Sunday and it was quite a relief. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
The 26-year-old had come close before with three scores in the 90s, most recently with a 95 in the Tri-series final against England just before the World Cup.
In the last match against Afghanistan, he was not so far off either, notching up 88 as Australia romped to victory on the back of a World Cup record tally.
He finally crossed the milestone with two runs from the 51st ball he faced against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground, helping his country to a 64-run victory that fired them into the quarter-finals.
“It was a massive weight (off my shoulder),” Maxwell told reporters. “It was a lot of fun and it was nice having a good wicket to play on and the top order set it up absolutely beautifully for us.
“It was basically the blueprint for what we should model our one-day game on and top order did a great job to set it up for us.”
His 53-ball 102 was not just a brilliant innings but an important one, forming the large part of the 160-run 13.4-over partnership with Shane Watson that was responsible for Australia’s victory.
“Having Watto there was special,” he added. “He’s been there for me over the last couple of tough weeks off the field, he’s been there with me through thick and thin and I shared a little special moment with him out there.
“Hopefully it’s going to open the floodgates a little bit and I can stop getting out in the 90s.”
Maxwell did not disclose what his off-field problems were but he has certainly had his share of critics over his career.
He was saddled with the nickname ‘The Big Show’ after receiving a million dollar Indian Premier League contract in 2013 just a few months after his international debut.
That and his flamboyant batting have attracted the ire of some in Australia, including former test skipper Kim Hughes who branded his test performance against Pakistan last year as ‘diabolical’.
On his day, however, he is one of the most talented batsmen in the game, able to conjure up almost unbelievable shots to send the ball to the boundary all around the ground.
He showed the full range on Sunday with a brutal assault which fell just one delivery short of the record for the quickest World Cup century.
Asked what bowlers and fielders should do to get him out, Maxwell cracked a huge smile.
“Why would I give that up? Change the rules, put 10 on the fence?” he suggested.