Hussey warms up with half-century
Victoria 0 for 21 trail Western Australia 248 (North 87, Hussey 65) by 227 runs
Michael Hussey showed plenty of positive signs in his first innings against a red ball since the Test tour of the West Indies in April, as he compiled a confident 65 against Victoria at the MCG. Marcus North was also in the runs after ridding himself of the burden of Western Australia's captaincy, and his 87 helped the Warriors to 248 before Victoria's openers survived a difficult period in the fading light shortly before stumps.
At the close of the first day, the Bushrangers were 0 for 21 with Chris Rogers on 12 and Peter Handscomb on 6, and they trailed the Warriors by 227 runs. It hadn't been an easy day for the batsmen as the ball nibbled around under a cloudy sky and a couple of rain delays didn't help either. But Hussey and North both settled in for an extended period against a quality attack led by Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Clint McKay.
Hussey came to the crease in the second over after McKay nipped a ball away to take the edge of Marcus Harris' bat, and immediately he had a nervy moment. The first ball Hussey faced was inside edged off the bowling of Pattinson and Matthew Wade, diving low to his right, was unable to glove the ball. All the same, the quality of bowling was a reasonable warm-up for Hussey ahead of the first Test against South Africa, and eventually he started to find the middle of the bat.
He pulled the medium-pacer Alex Keath for six and began to find some gaps with his drives and brought up his half-century from 76 deliveries. However, a rain break was the undoing of Hussey, who edged the first ball when play resumed to second slip, where his brother David took the catch off the bowling of Jayde Herrick.
Marcus North, who had come to the crease after the debutant Sam Whiteman edged to slip for 29 off McKay, kept the runs ticking over for the Warriors. North said on Monday that his own poor form had been the key reason for his decision to give up the state's captaincy and the initial indications were that he was better for the reduced responsibility, as he accompanied the lower order until the end of the innings.
North was eventually bowled for 87 by Pattinson, who bowled a quick, aggressive spell late in the innings and finished with 2 for 56. Siddle collected 2 for 53, including Mitchel Marsh caught behind when he wafted at a wide ball, and McKay, Herrick and Alex Keath also picked up two wickets each.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here