Matthew Wade dives to take a stunning catch. Photo: Getty Images
MATTHEW Wade had two sporting dreams. One was to play football on the MCG, the other to don the keeping gloves on the same ground.
He was talented enough that both were realistic dreams, but at his height (170 centimetres), a baggy green was more realistic than the Melbourne jumper his cousin Jeremy Howe now wears, or the Hawthorn one his dad wore.
On Boxing Day, Wade has lived both his dreams, playing cricket for Australia but doing it with a football touch. Wade's dreamy moment came when he dived for a catch that was as much mark as it was catch - which was perhaps why he had no trouble taking it.
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Mitchell Johnson’s pace overpowered Sri Lanka who were bowled out for 156 on he opening day of the second Test before Australia reached 3-150. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
The ball skied off the otherwise controlled bat of Kumar Sangakkara from a Mitchell Johnson ball that reprised the pair of brutish deliveries that had already removed two of Sangakkara's teammates. The ball flew high over Wade's head towards the boundary, the keeper turning and chasing it, eyes fixed all the while on nothing but the ball.
He covered about 30 metres - running further than he did last week in his run up to bowl in his cameo over - when he dived and, horizontal, gloved the ball inches from the ground. He came to a halt skidding on his belly, the mark taken. Rod Marsh also once took a similar catch in a Test. Luke Hodge once took a similar mark in a match.
''When he first went back and turned around I thought he was going to get it,'' Mitchell Johnson said.
''Then I thought the wind picked it up and I thought he wasn't going to get it and then at the last minute I thought he was definitely going to get it.
''It was an unbelievable catch and then he threw it over for six so luckily he held onto it for long enough. It was an unbelievable catch and a pretty special one for me, being my 200th wicket, so I thanked him for that.''