Ashes 2019: “It probably hasn’t sunk in just yet” says Matthew Wade after Test comeback century
Matthew Wade: "I didn’t know if I would get another chance." © AFP

Recalled wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade was over the moon after scoring a century on return to Australia‘s Test team, a solid 110 in three hours on Sunday at Edgbaston to tighten the visitors’ grip on the Ashes opener.

Thanks to Wade’s 110 and Steve Smith’s 142 – his second century of the Test – Australia were allowed to declare with a lead of 397 over hosts England during day four at Edgbaston.

For Wade, who got a Test chance after nearly two years, the feeling of scoring a century on comeback was something he was trying to comprehend given the snubs he has faced over the past year.

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“It probably hasn’t sunk in just yet,” Wade said on Sunday. “First Test match of an Ashes series and to play was a dream come true, let alone to contribute to what we’re hoping will be a win in the first Test.

“It probably won’t sink in until after the game or maybe a few days when we’re playing a tour game (in Worcester) in a few days. But I’m proud of the way I soldiered on in the last few years, not knowing if I’d get another opportunity.”

(READ: Smith, Wade tons leave England with record chase to get)

The Edgbaston Test is Wade’s 23rd, and in each of his prior 22 matches he was Australia’s designated wicketkeeper. For the Ashes opener, he was picked as a specialist batsman coming off a Sheffield Shield season in which he crossed 1000 runs, as well as runs for Australia A across formats on their tour of England.

Matthew Wade 110
Matthew Wade raises his bat after getting to three figures. © AFP

Wade nearly told Cricket Australia that he could not fly to England on account of the birth of his second daughter, but his wife Julie was the one who told him he had to be with Australia A to try and force a return to the Test squad. After his second child was born, Wade linked up with Australia A in England and scored two centuries in a week to force the selectors to add him to Australia’s World Cup squad after Usman Khawaja got injured.

Hence Wade’s cradle-rocking celebrations at Edgbaston on Sunday after he reached 50.

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“I am grateful to be here, and the celebration I am even more grateful to my wife for throwing me on the plane and telling me to come over and play the Australia A series, to hopefully get an opportunity to be in the position I am in,” he explained. “That’s what that was all about. I didn’t know if I would get another chance.”

In February, Wade was named Male Domestic Player of the Year at the annual Australian Cricket Awards after he scored 1509 runs across three formats for an average of 45.73, with five hundreds, during the eligibility period.

That accolade came after a period of anguish for the 31-year-old, who saw his chances of playing for Australia again dimming. Wade had been in the news several times during Australia’s home summer, expressing his frustration at being ignored by the national selectors and then questioning the criteria for selection.

Now, with his third Test century to help Australia dominate England, Wade has no reason to complain.