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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Boon Saves Aussies in Swan Test

ADELAIDE-- For a man who once interrupted an innings to have stitches inserted in his face without anesthetic, rescuing Australia again was a relatively tame experience for David Boon.


The sturdy and fiercely patriotic number three batsman has steeled Australia's top order for 12 years through a combination of raw, unflinching courage and a technique gradually shorn of unnecessary flamboyance.


In his 107th and final test match, the 35-year-old veteran strode to the wicket Thursday at Adelaide Oval in familiar circumstances. Australia was in trouble: first wicket down and only one run on the board.


Fittingly -- and as so often in the past -- Boon answered the call. Thirty-eight overs after taking guard, he departed with 43 valuable runs to his name. Another crisis averted.


All-rounder Steve Waugh's 170 then lifted Australia to a formidable first innings total of 502 for nine after 157.3 overs Friday.


Former captain Allan Border said of Boon: "If he fired, we did well, and if he missed out, we struggled -- that's how important he's been to Australia."


At Sabina Park, Kingston, five years ago, Boon was struck in the face by a bouncer from Patrick Patterson that ripped open his chin, but he refused to yield to pain or intimidation, blunting the West Indies threat with an inspirational innings of 109.


"He just got some butterfly stitches put in without a painkiller and carried on batting. That showed just how tough he was -- nothing ever fazed him," Border said.


Such feats earned the chunky Tasmanian the respect and deep admiration of the Australian public, who idolized "Boonie" as a true "Aussie battler."


Going into his farewell test, Boon had scored 7,344 test runs at an average of 43.71, including 21 hundreds.


Off the field, his exploits as a drinker came to earn him almost as much esteem among Australia's male population as his ability with the bat. He was said to have once consumed 58 cans of beer on a flight from Australia to England.