Hussey piles agony on India (Tea Report)

October 10th, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan SinghBangalore, Oct 10 (IANS) The indomitable Michael Hussey notched his maiden ton on Indian soil as Australia thundered to a commanding 416 for seven at tea on the second day of the first cricket Test at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here Friday.Though he lost two of his late middle order partners in quick succession to the vastly matured Ishant Sharma (4-77), Hussey continued to torment the beleaguered Indians. If there was one blemish in his 383-minute essay at the wicket, it was an inside edge off Ishant which brought up his hundred, his ninth in 27 Tests.

His technique was impeccable, his defence impregnable, his temperament sage-like. So much so, never once was he beaten by the Indian bowlers, who laboured hard on a wicket which was two-paced. When he struck, he did with élan, caressing the cherry to the pickets with silken grace.

Having made his debut at 30 when most Indian cricketers prepare for their retirement, he seems determined to garner as many runs as he could in the opportunities that were offered to him. Little wonder then that he averages over 80 in Test cricket.

Coming in to bat at the fall of Simon Katich (166 for two) Thursday evening, the 33-year-old batted on and on, running the enervated bowlers ragged. By hanging in the middle he made certain that the Indian batsmen, more so the openers, would be a weary lot when the Australian quicks have a go at them in the post-tea session.

Hussey had raised 74 runs for the sixth wicket with Brad Haddin (33), before the latter, deceived by a slower delivery from Ishant, chipped an intended off-drive to V.V.S Laxman at short extra-cover. Ishant was to draw debutant Cameron White into the same ploy, luring the Victorian all-rounder into jabbing the ball to Harbhajan Singh at cover.

But if skipper Anil Kumble and his boys had hoped to run through the Australian tail, Bret Lee (batting 26) stood firm in the middle, proving an able ally to Hussey. The robust pair has thus far added 54 runs for the eighth wicket and look good to prolong their association.

Except for Ishant, who picked up four wickets, the rest of the Indian attack was far from impressive, as was their fielding.

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