Langer battles on for 100th Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Langer battles on for 100th Test

By Greg Buckle 30/03/2006 05:47:02 AM Comments (0)

Justin Langer's fighting spirit has been his trademark ever since his debut against the West Indies 13 years ago, but he says at one point in his career he doubted whether he would play his ninth Test, let alone 100.

On Friday, Langer will become the 10th Australian to play 100 Tests when he walks onto the field at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg for the start of the third Test against South Africa.

Australia has already claimed the series against South Africa with victories in the first two Tests, but Langer will not be lacking in motivation as he savours every moment at Test level.

Langer's Test debut was in the Adelaide Test against the West Indies in 1992-93, making 54 despite being smashed on the helmet by paceman Ian Bishop.

Langer was playing against fearsome pacemen Bishop, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh and some of the game's batting heavyweights, including Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, Carl Hooper and Desmond Haynes.

"I was playing with David Boon, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, I was in another world," Langer said.

"I hardly knew any of the guys I was playing with, and the guys I was playing against, I had just seen them on TV.

"I was like a little kid, and to face that baptism of fire, mate I wondered if I would ever recover from that."

Indeed, the West Australian opening batsman played only eight Tests in six years.

"Years ago (Australian coach) John Buchanan said one of the traits of a champion team or individual is longevity. They are not a flash in the pan," said Langer, who has made 22 centuries.

"So to play a hundred Tests for me, that's the thing I'm most proud of.

"There have been lots of ups and downs but in the last seven or eight years there have been a lot more ups than downs.

"Also in this current era of Australian cricket, it's a huge privilege to have played with some of the players I've played with, and a hundred Tests in this era when there are so many players around is a good achievement.

"After eight Test matches I wondered if there would be a ninth Test match."

And after this accolade, the 35-year-old opener says winning back the Ashes in 2006-07 is his "burning desire".

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