Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide January 21, 2008

'We have to move forward' - Hussey

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Michael Hussey: undeterred by the Perth loss © Getty Images
 

Michael Hussey may have been ruffled by his first Test duck in Perth but he won't be flummoxed by journalists' questions, taking a typically level-headed view of Australia's defeat in Perth.

He said they had to lose at some point and that the players have taken it in their stride. He also denied that India's left-arm bowlers, who took the visitors to the upset victory, were a particular issue for the left-handers.

"They bowled particularly well in the Perth Test," said Hussey after arriving in Adelaide on Monday afternoon. "They are good bowlers and, like any bowlers in the world, you treat them with respect and they had their day against us in Perth."

As for the psychological setback of losing - the first Test defeat for six of Australia's side - he said they had not yet spoken about dealing with it but didn't expect any issues: "You can't go forever without losing. We've got to move on and look forward to Adelaide.

"We're very positive guys, very close-knit. It will just make us work harder, prepare better and be more determined for the Adelaide Test. It was good, hard cricket and that's where we want to be."

Australia, he said, had certainly done their homework on the seamers before Perth. "You never underestimate any bowlers and we treat whoever we are playing with the utmost respect. We prepare very, very well against every team."

He also had an answer for why Ishant Sharma troubled Ricky Ponting so much, getting him out twice. It was, he said, the patch of unevenness outside the right-hander Ponting's off stump. "It looked like it was pretty tough going. Our plan was to try to get me down that end ... but the ball was moving so far we couldn't even get me down." On Sharma he said: "He's young, he's aggressive, he's got good pace, hits the deck hard. I know the guys are going to be very determined to keep him out in this Test."

He disagreed when asked if India had the best attack in the world (apart from Australia's), instead considering that accolade would go to England's 2005 Ashes-winning line-up, from what he saw on television. "They seemed to bowl really well as a group and it seemed to be the best bowling in Test cricket for a long time outside the Australian team. South Africa have got a pretty good line-up, England fully fit have a good line-up. It's hard to say who's the best."

He did, however, concede that India were one of the best current Test teams - "India have to be right up there because of how well they are playing away from home" - and that the batsmen had had trouble dealing with the swing and that they may want to consider certain shots against such deliveries given the manner of the top-order dismissals in the first innings in Perth. "We fell foul of that. I was disappointed to get out in that manner when the ball was swinging. You've got to make those adjustments, I felt I was more disciplined outside the off stump. There's no room to hide in Test cricket, one mistake and you're back in the pavilion."

He expected the Indian bowlers to pose less of a problem in Adelaide, which incidentally is "almost my favourite ground" (he averages 315.00 in two Tests here), because of the conditions, but that they would still put up a good fight. "They've got the skills to consistently swing the ball, any batsman is going to find it tough, but I don't think it will swing as much in Adelaide."

Behind the scenes, Australia will be assessing the damage of the loss, and also keeping a close eye on Matthew Hayden's hamstring. They are desperate for him to return this week, following Chris Rogers' double failure as one of the inexperienced opening pair with Phil Jaques. Questioned over whether Hayden would be their saviour in the City of Churches, Hussey said: "He's obviously one of our key players. I hope it is not the difference, [or else] we might be in a bit of trouble."

Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo