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

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

Andrew Fernando at the SCG

January 4, 2013

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Lahiru Thirimanne was struck on the thigh while fielding at short leg, Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 2nd day, January 4, 2013
Lahiru Thirimanne was struck a couple of painful blows at short leg © AFP
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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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Baseball-Sucks 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.

Posted by landl47 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.

Posted by srriaj317 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.

Posted by EnglishCricket on (January 4, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

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

Posted by Lara4life501 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...

Posted by Lara4life501 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,

Posted by Lara4life501 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,

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by Hardy1 on (January 4, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

The thing with Hussey is that he made runs in key situations and was very adaptable, not to mention a great fielder too. Of course he won't go down as one of the game's greats but he scored a lot of runs in first class & list A cricket too & was a good T20 player to boot. In fact possibly more than any other player in the world he could adapt to any format with seamless ease. Having said that yeah I see what you mean, I think it was more just a nice gesture for him rather than a "one of the greats is retiring" kind of gesture from the Sri Lankans.

Posted by Vincent49 on (January 4, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

How can you deny him a Guard of honor? This is Michael Hussey!! I mean everything he touches in cricket generally turns to gold. Forever Mr reliable and if he was only 27, you could bet he would be playing for aus for another 10 years and adding to those 6000 runs. I thought the gaurd of honor was indeed very appropriate.

Posted by legsidewide on (January 4, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

I think Hussey's admired so wqidely because he's one of the few top-class cricketers who doesn't run his mouth, but instead lets his cricket do the talking. It's a quality in short supply in the modern game, and it probably helps that he's such a talented and reliable all-round sportsman

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (January 4, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

@Lara4life501. It was a matter of respect to a man that no one seemed to dislike. The guard of honour was for him not his stats.

Posted by AnujitKM on (January 4, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

I consider him a great. This is because of the values he brings to the ground - field hard, run hard for partners run, bowl to the extent he can, bat whererver he is asked to, adopt to every condition and play for win. Had I been a child, I would have been motivated by seeing him, to play test cricket. I am 40 now, can not possibly play test cricket, but I still feel motivated to see him, at least I can tell my daughter 'this is how to play sport, and this is why playing sport' is important. Hussy may not have the best statistics, but in terms of the legacy, he truly is a great. He deserved the guard of honor. I am not even an Australian, I am an Indian, and I often felt miserable when he scored lots of runs against India, but I feel he is great.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (January 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

I suspect the guard of honour was more in respect of the man than his figures , which are excellent rather than those of one of the all time greats. Mike Hussey strikes me as someone that opponents like and respect as a man. Agree that the overwhelming feeling today was of waste. Apart from Clarke who also erred today the Australian top order seem to lack the patience and concentration to make the really big scores that win major series like the Ashes. You just know that the likes of Cook & Pietersen would have cashed in with big hundreds on that sort of pitch and mediocre attack. Also obvious that this 4 man pace attack with Johnson at 7 will (hopefully) never be seen again. At the moment i could see Pattinson, Starc & Bird as the three quicks in England.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Lata4life, sometimes it's more than stats that show a player's greatness, which was evidenced today. Hussey is obviously a good bloke all the Sri Lankan's like, and if you see his record against them it's easy for them to at least see him as one of the greats to have played against them.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

Well maybe Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan Captain thought he deserved a guard of honour. It is after all his choice as Sri Lanka's Test captain to bestow that honour on a player he deems worthy of that honour.

Posted by 777aditya on (January 4, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

@ Lara4life501 - a quote from Tipu Sultan "IT IS BETTER TO LIVE A DAY LIKE A TIGER THAN 100 YEARS LIKE SHEEP!" I hope you get the message. Players like Hussey, Hodge, Macgill, and even to an extent Hayden did not get their fair share because it was simply impossible to break into the invincible contemporary Aussie team, which by no means can undermine their class. Hussey deserves every bit of honor that comes his way.

Posted by palfeb31987 on (January 4, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

@Lara4life501 - Well Hussey would have become one of the legends if he was given a chance at the early part of his career. Have some regard for the champion batsman and a wonderful personality that he is. The guy made his debut only after 30. Mere numbers dont matter, but its the matches that he has won/saved for Australia that count. Now, if we look at the stats of Sachin, Ponting, Lara and Hussey after 30, we will know how he has fared in comparison. I am sure he outscored them comfortably. Also, he comes very late down the order at number 6 which does not give him that much an opportunity to score tons and tons of runs. Still he has made an amazing impact and extended the Aussie Aura after Gilchrist retired. Tremendous fitness, excellent runner between the wickets, athletic fielder. Have seen him take stunning catches at gully & slip. Calm demeanor and a wonderful attitude towards the game. No controversies. On the whole, a fantastic athlete. Hooooooo. I am just tired.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Michael Hussey aka Mr. Cricket is a LEGEND OF THE GAME! NO PLAYER, in the history of the game has come in as late as Hussey into the international scene and achieve the great feats he has! He will be in my world 11 any day in any format!

Posted by stormy16 on (January 4, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Yes I too was surprised at the guard of honor for Hussey which surely must be reserved for the very best but who and how is the 'very best' defined. Hussey scored 3 hundreds on the trot in his last visit to SL and not many visitng players can match that in SL - in fact I dont think a SL has managed that. Agreed Hussey is a wonderful player and not taking away anything from him but he has only played test cricket for 7 years (which is init self a surprise - seemed to have been around for a very long time). I think SL have forced a trend here where when a player announces his retirement before a game a guard of honor will become he norm. I wonder if the Aussies would give say Thilan Samaraweera a guard of honor if he were to announce his retirement tonight? Thilan who? yes this guy has a similar record to Hussey.

Posted by A_HTIMAN on (January 4, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

He may not be as great as Lara or Ponting. But he was a great amabassador for the game. You rarely find a player admired so much by team mates, opponents and co. And also he is simply unique. There has never been a better adopting player than him. It's not bad giving him a guard of honour... but by doing that SL indicated it will be his last innings as he won't bat in second innings....

Posted by Webba84 on (January 4, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

Had Hussey started at 25 years who knows what might have been. Personally I think its quite fitting that in his final game Mr Cricket is out through no fault of his own, but someone elses mistake. Would have been nice if he got a century first of course, but we dont get to script these things - just ask Ponting.

Posted by jackied on (January 4, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

He may not go down as one of the greatest to play the game. But for nearly all of the seven years he played he was one of the best batsman in the game, and he still is. He's obviously one of the most respected people in world cricket and I think it was a great and deserved gesture. Anyone with an average over 50 and 6000 test runs, even anyone retiring of their own accord at the age of 37 whilst one of the best batsmen in the world, is deserving of that ovation. And in the end, it doesn't detracts from the game and adds to the spirit in which it is played.

Posted by TomCalder on (January 4, 2013, 8:10 GMT)

@Lara4life501 A fair point, but Hussey can count himself quite unlucky in the fact that if was any other nationality, he would have walked into their test side way before his debut in 2006. He was scoring runs for fun at county and state level, but was just unfortunate that he couldn't break into such a settled side. If he hadn't been English then I reckon his run tally would have been close to double what he got, and he would have been pushing 100+ tests

Posted by Lara4life501 on (January 4, 2013, 7:45 GMT)

Look I understand the gaurd of honor for Ponting, 16 years at the top,former Australian captain and all the rest, but a gaurd of honor for Hussey, yes 7 years in test cricket, 6000 plus test runs at an average of a tick over 51...Will Hussey go down as one of the greatest players to grace the game??? eg. Ponting,Lara, Tendulkar and Kallis...Yes, Hussey is a very good player, however I do believe he does not fit into these top echelon of batsman.Very good player no doubt, but he had along way to go before he can be compared to any of the players mentioned above...

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