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For more than seven years, Michael Hussey was a permanent fixture in Australia's Test team and has played in 48 victories. Here ESPNcricinfo recalls five of his best Test performances
January 6, 2013
News : Michael Hussey to retire from international cricket
Brydon Coverdale : The unexpected departure
Players/Officials: Michael Hussey
137 v West Indies, Hobart, 2005-06
This was the innings that made Michael Hussey a Test batsman. On debut a fortnight earlier, Hussey had shown some nerves - only natural for a man wearing the baggy green for the first time at the age of 30. But in his second Test, Hussey displayed all the talent that had earned him 15,313 first-class runs before his call-up. He was confident enough to pull, despite the shot getting him out cheaply on debut, and was not worried by some moisture in the pitch. Filling in for the injured Justin Langer, Hussey was part of a 231-run opening stand with Matthew Hayden. His performance ensured that he would be moved down the order rather than being dropped when Langer returned. As it turned out, he never once missed a Test through injury or axing.
122 v South Africa, Melbourne, 2005-06
Later the same summer, Hussey was settling into a middle-order role when the South Africans toured. In the Boxing Day Test, only four of Australia's batsmen reached double figures - including Glenn McGrath - and it was centuries to Hussey and Ricky Ponting that put Australia on top. Most impressive was the way Hussey batted with the tail, and especially McGrath. They came together at 9 for 248 and Hussey avoided the Steve Waugh approach of treating McGrath like any other batsman. Instead, he tried to play the first half of the over and then take a single late to keep the strike. It was a strategy that required serious concentration and an ability to switch gears, both of which would remain strengths of Hussey's over the years to come. In the end, Hussey made 122 and a 107-run stand pushed Australia to 355. The Bradmanesque start to his career was continuing.
91 and 61* v England, Adelaide, 2006-07
Hussey says this Test provided his most memorable moment in Test cricket, hitting the winning runs in an Ashes Test that gave Australia a 2-0 series lead. Certainly his efforts in the second innings were critical for Australia, as he came in at 2 for 33 in a chase of 168. With only 36 overs available for the whole innings, he used is one-day finishing skills to deliver one of the finest come-from-behind wins in modern Test cricket. But just as important was the 91 he scored in the first innings. Again, he had arrived at a difficult time, with Australia 3 for 65 in reply to England's 6 for 551 declared. Hussey and Ricky Ponting put Australia back in the contest. Ponting was Man of the Match, but the result wouldn't have been possible without Hussey's two invaluable contributions. All those English folks who saw Hussey pile up runs in county cricket in the previous years and wondered why he wasn't in the Test team were now wishing he wasn't.
134* v Pakistan, Sydney, 2009-10
Another come-from-behind victory, and another in which Hussey played an enormous role. After Australia were skittled for 127 on the first day, Pakistan took what appeared to be an unbeatable position when they scored 333 and then had Australia 8 for 257 in their second innings. But then Hussey and Peter Siddle came together. Hussey completed another fine display of batting with the tail - with help from some overly defensive field placements - and the 123-run stand he and Siddle compiled gave Australia a sliver of hope. Pakistan were set 176 and they crumbled. Thanks to Hussey's unbeaten 134, Australia had again snatched a victory that had looked impossible.
195 v England, Brisbane, 2010-11
Entering the 2010-11 Ashes, Hussey was in the midst of a lean patch that was threatening to end his career. There had been occasional glimpses of his best, but two centuries from his past 51 Test innings was not an adequate return. Perhaps he sensed he was on his last chance, but whatever the case, Hussey batted at the Gabba with a freedom and purpose seldom seen in the previous couple of years of his Test career. He played his shots, found boundaries all around the ground and over five and a half hours compiled a career-best 195. It was the innings of a man who no longer had a clouded mind. Hussey and Brad Haddin took Australia from a vulnerable 5 for 143 to a position from which the team was able to post 481, and while the match was drawn, it at least prevented Australia from beginning their Ashes series with a loss.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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