Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 2nd day January 4, 2013

A guard of honour for Hussey

Plays of the Day from the second day of the third Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Sydney

The welcome

Few cricketers inspire the kind of universal admiration Michael Hussey has enjoyed in his career, and the spectators and his opponents at the SCG put on a fitting ovation as he arrived at the crease in the second session. The 26,420-strong audience, some of whom had adorned their nose and lips in Hussey's signature zinc, rose to applaud him onto the arena, while Sri Lanka formed a guard of honour often reserved for the greats of the game. Hussey's international career was too short perhaps for him to be considered among cricket's finest, it is difficult to begrudge him the honour his opponents bestowed on him in his last match.

The dismay

Clarke has barely put a foot wrong both with the bat and as captain in the past 12 months, but if Hussey does not bat again in the game, Clarke will have committed a blunder he will have a hard time forgiving himself for. Clarke pushed Dhammika Prasad to the left of the point fielder and called Hussey through for a tight single, but Dimuth Karunaratne rounded the ball and threw down the stumps to find even the sprightly, diving Hussey short of his ground. Clarke's head dropped as he turned around to see the Sri Lankans celebrate at the other end, and he sank to his haunches on the pitch when the third umpire confirmed the visitors' delight.

The blows

Lahiru Thirimanne had spilt two catches at short leg in the third session, but when he finally caught one that Sri Lanka and umpire Dar thought had hit Matthew Wade's bat, the decision was overturned on review. Almost as a punishment, Wade swept powerfully two balls later to collect Thirimanne painfully in the thigh, before the batsman's aim improved and he got the fielder in the box with a similar stroke next ball.

The trend

When Ed Cowan was caught short for 4 attempting to take a second, Australia had lost a top-three batsman to a run out in each Test this series. The dismissal was largely of Cowan's own making as he sauntered a first, then stuttered when he saw Warner charging back for two, while Nuwan Pradeep had hauled the ball in and released it with speed, accuracy and power. Not since the Ashes series of 1977 had one of Australia's top three been run-out in three consecutive matches.

The missed chance

Sri Lanka had given Michael Clarke two reprieves in Melbourne, and their largesse continued in Sydney, albeit with the help of umpire Aleem Dar. Rangana Herath struck Clarke on the pad first with one that pitched outside off stump and straightened, but Dar turned down Sri Lanka's voracious appeal as he had been doing for much of the day. Mahela Jayawardene considered asking for a review, but with only one remaining to them, the uncertainty writ on Herath's face was enough to deter him. Replays showed however, that the ball had hit Clarke in line with off stump and would go on to hit middle.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sarah on January 4, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    @ Lara4life501 ; A narrow minded, sad lil man you are... you think SL gave the guard of honor for Hussey just to be praised by others ?? What ,r u nuts ? It's been kinda tradition among teams to give a player an honorary send off. Aussies gave the guard of honor for Sanath Jayasuriya, Murali received it from team India and so on.

  • John on January 4, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    I hope this isn't an omen for Michael Clarke. He did practically nothing wrong in 2012, but so far in 2013 he has made the wrong choice as selector by choosing Johnson at #7 instead of giving Khawaja a game; he made the wrong decision by putting Sri Lanka in; he ran out Mike Hussey in Hussey's final test when there was absolutely no need to take any risk; and finally, he got out himself to an awful shot, again completely unnecessary.

    I'm a great admirer of Clarke and he will be even more important to the Aus side now. Hopefully this is just a glitch and he'll be back to the on-the-ball captain and batsman we've become used to seeing.

  • Sriraj on January 4, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    @EnglishCricket: Your may want to come out of your English tradition and research some information before making snide remarks. You obviously haven't heard the news that the SCG is undergoing re-development construction which means it has reduced capacity for this test. 26,000 spectators in a 30,000 capacity venue is pretty good when a dead-rubber match is under way.

  • Joe on January 4, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    Hello 23,000 'strong' crowd but how much does the SGC can actually fill? exactly!

  • Mike on January 4, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    @Front_footLunge...all good to throw stones, however take KP out of your middle order and who does England have to replace him??? Taylor, looked well out of his depth this Summer...maybe, maybe one for future but not now...also take one seamer out of the England team ie Anderson, who do you have to replace him??? You think your sitting pretty because you beat a below average Indian team away from home.However you struggled all summer against South Africa and never really gave them a least the Aussies were competative against wasnt such a procession as it was watching them role you here in England...

  • Mike on January 4, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    @stormy16-Thats exactly my point well said,I know I am being shouted out for my views but it wasnt a slight on Hussey or his record, more the fact that, I believe the Sri Lankans saw what G Smith and South Africa did for Ponting, and heard the almost universal praise that Smith and Co recieved for the gesture and the Sri Lankans decided to follow suit...good bit of PR for the Sri Lankan team really after a pretty dismal tour...that hasnt finished yet,

  • Mike on January 4, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Yes,people you make sum good points,No doubt Hussey is a true gentlemen of the game...Hopefully when Shiv Chanderpaul retires he is given a gaurd of honor where ever it maybe when he calls it a day...Ten thousand plus runs,averaging over 50...runs against all attacks,in all conditions...easily the most UNDERATED batsman of the modern era.At the end of the day well played M Hussey,no denying that,

  • j on January 4, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Well played Hussey, a good career, great stats, and getting out at the point Australia need you most. The void left in the middle order cannot be filled due to the void in Australia's bare batting cupboard, and India will fancy having a bowl at this Aussie top order to put it mildly. But at least you didn't go the way of the tantrum-king, Ricky Ponting, whose painfully slow career-fade lasted years, checked all the way by English dominance over Australia, before finally retiring in embarrassment. You got out at the right time Mr Hussey.

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Mike Hussey operated @ 100% any day any match for any team that he played for.. he earned so much adulation and respect from his teams , opponents and spectators alike.. the Guard of honor definitely is apt for such a wonderful player and I am sure it would have been spontaneous and SL wouldn't have broken a sweat to think through this like some of us are doing on a forum.

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    @Lara4life501 Hussey mayn't be an all time great a.l.a. sachin, lara or ponting but he was one of the finest gentlemen to have stepped on the cricketing field, a meticulous competitor , and a great team player.His achievements even in a shorter career are among the top echelons of the game. He has got a World cup winner's medal, Champions trophy winner, test series wins against every test playing nation out there and respectable averages in every format of the game he has played so far. Heck his contributions to non-international sides too are a great mention, can't think of a top order for Chennai Super Kings in IPL without him !! he has multiple IPL winner medals, Champions league and what not..I am an Indian but I have followed M Hussey's game than any other from the time he stepped international scene and can't imagine watching Aus games without him.

  • No featured comments at the moment.