Jason Gallian played many memorable innings in his decade at Trent Bridge and one that sticks in the mind was at Derby in 2002.
Notts had been bowled out in the first innings for 240; Derbyshire obtained a lead of 100 or so and in the final innings, Notts required 323 for victory. Gallian opened the batting, watched wickets fall at the other end, whilst he remained calm and collected. The ninth wicket disappeared with still 46 required and Greg Smith was the last man. The necessary runs were obtained, an unbelievable victory achieved. Gallian was unbeaten on the 'dreaded' Nelson (111) after a stint lasting nearly seven hours.
In contrast to that delightful outcome, Gallian batted in all ten hours against Essex at Chelmsford the following summer for innings of 65 and 79, but virtually everyone else fell apart, so Gallian's’determination came to nought - Essex won by nine wickets. Much more salutary was the summer of 2004, when Gallian led Notts to the Division Two title. He and Darren Bicknell opened the batting in every First-Class innings, an remarkable sequence in modern times. Notts went on to claim the Championship title in 2005 and much credit for that honour went again to Gallian and Bicknell whose average first wicket partnership per innings that season was 54 – the highest in county cricket.
The confidence that is engendered when the opening pair continuously provide a sound foundation for their more flamboyant successors is not measurable. Gallian of course will recall 2005 for a bizarre record – being run out twice with his score at 199 v Sussex at Trent Bridge and v Kent at Canterbury. For that reason alone he will remain a feature of cricket quizzes.
Gallian was in some ways an old-fashioned batsman, well suited to the change from three- to four-day Championship cricket - introduced to better prepare English batsmen for Test matches. Gallian was ideal for that format, playing with patience when so many players seem to favour the 'six or out' approach. Born in the South Australia town of Manly, Gallian learnt his cricket there and was so successful as a youngster that he captained Australia Under 19s. Against England he led his side to a three nil series ‘Test’ win.
In 1990 he came to England, living in Lancashire – his parents were both Lancastrians – and played for his father’s old club, Werneth. The experts at Old Trafford were impressed by the young batsman and he appeared in several Lancashire Seconds matches, as well as making his First-Class debut for Lancashire v Oxford University. He chose to quit Australia and remain in England to qualify by residence. In 1992 and 1993 he played for Oxford in the Varsity match, being captain in the second year.
He qualified as an English player in 1994 and was seen regularly in the Lancashire side that summer. In 1995 he hit 1,000 runs and made his England Test debut v West Indies; the following winter he toured South Africa with the England side; he played in just three Tests and never translated his club form to the larger stage.
The 1996 season saw him score an impressive triple century – 312 for Lancashire v Derbyshire at Old Trafford, the longest innings (670 minutes) ever recorded in Championship history. In 1996-97 he toured Australia with England ‘A’, but felt restless at Old Trafford and after the 1997 summer opted to move to Trent Bridge, where his erstwhile mentor, Alan Ormrod was manager.
The move was not quite as smooth as he’d hoped – a leg injury meant he missed a number of early matches; he returned to the side suddenly to have the captaincy thrust upon him (Paul Johnson resigned the post at the end of July). This was quite traumatic but then Notts decided to dispense with Ormrod and appoint as manager a totally different character, Clive Rice. A fractious dressing room, and other problems beyond his control did nothing to make Gallian's leadership task easier, yet he continued to prosper with bat and he was awarded a benefit season in 2005
For Notts, he made 8445 First-Class runs, with 24 centuries (including those two frustrating near misses at a double); in List-A games, Gallian recorded a further 3585 runs and three more hundreds.
Gallian joined Essex in 2007 - where he gained his third county cap - on a two-year contract. He played 24 First-Class games for the county, scoring 1093 runs before announcing his retirment in August 2009. He is currently director of cricket and coach at Felsted School in Essex.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 543