Matthew Wade century proved just how much he loved Ashes battle with Jofra Archer
Matthew Wade century proved just how much he loved Ashes battle with Jofra Archer (Image: GETTY)
Peter Nevill, who had kept wicket up to that point, was not imparting necessary levels of yap so selectors believed, and nobody did yap better than the man from Hobart.
It says plenty about how feisty Wade must have been back then that those who know him suggest that subsequent struggles – he was dropped at the end of 2017 after 10 Tests – and the birth of his two children has mellowed him significantly.
This summer he has not been noticeably mellow at all. In fact as self-appointed irritant in chief he has been a constant verbal thorn throughout and never more so than this weekend at The Oval where he has locked horns with anyone who has come within five yards of him.
If you are going to dish it out you have to be able to take it though and yesterday, with an innings of huge skill and bags of courage, Wade showed that he not only understands the equation but produces his best when he is under threat.
This was a second century of the series for Wade following a first in the second innings at Edgbaston but if his first was produced in the shadow of Steve Smith here his innings stood proud as a masterful performance against both pace and spin which carried him to 117 and briefly floated hopes he could guide Australia home.
His battle with Jofra Archer after tea was theatre, the pair locking horns and stares in an eight over spell of furious pace from the England man after Wade took him on.
The pair were teammates at Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash but it seems safe to assume they were not close.
If his battle with Archer showed his courage and skill – he pulled and hooked him for six fours and a top edged six – his battle with Jack Leach showed off his footwork.Matthew Wade century proved just how much he loved Ashes battle with Jofra Archer (Image: GETTY)
His repeated dance down the wicket frustrated Leach’s rhythm and neutralised the rough patch outside his off stump. He was ultimately undone twice by Joe Root, the first Jonny Bairstow failing to gather and the second ending a very fine innings.
The desire to be the self-appointed wasp of any team is not to everyone’s taste with it seeming counter instinctive to the survival instinct to invite extra special attention from the opposition when you are trying to concentrate on batting.
Yet it has a fine tradition stretching back through time and Australia have always had one.
David Warner, who has been a pale imitation of his annoying self this summer, silenced by a lack of runs, has been known to share his thoughts on occasion.
Shane ‘Watto’ Watson, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke enjoyed the joust. Going further back Allan Border and Rod Marsh were never shy of offering a character assessment when they felt it might unsettle the opposition.
Wade had to reinvent himself as a specialist batsmen when he found his path into Tasmania and Australia side as wicketkeeper blocked by Tim Paine but 1,021 runs in Sheffield Shield cricket last winter ticked that box.
Naturally combative instincts have stayed the same with him admitting he plays his best cricket “when I get into a contest”.
He has got himself in one all summer and yesterday backed it up magnificently with a display of front foot positivity. A shame for him the only century of the match came in a losing cause.