Plays of the day November 9, 2007

Stalking the Don, an amiable track, and a net loss

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Michael Hussey turned in another immaculate performance (file photo) © Getty Images

A few steps behind Bradman
Outstanding feats come most days for Michael Hussey, who moved his average above 80 with his fine 133. Only seven players have achieved a similar mean and four of those appeared in one match. Two men have maintained the rate over more than 20 innings: Hussey and Don Bradman.

Green but not mean
Touring captains have been swayed by the colour of the Gabba's pitch a lot recently and refuse to stop the mistake of sending in the hosts. The four previous times Australia were inserted here they posted 435 in 2005-06, 323 in 2003-04, 492 in 2002-03 and 486 in 2001-02. England's Len Hutton was the first to try it in 1954-55, when Australia struck 601, which was 50 more than Ricky Ponting's team managed today.

Net loss
One Sri Lankan bowler was frightening batsmen at the Gabba. Unfortunately for the tourists it was Lasith Malinga, who was powering away in the nets while his team-mates were punished. The decision to leave him out even surprised Hussey.

Stumped by the ump
The last thing a touring team needs after almost two days in the field is for one of their openers to fall to a disputable umpiring call. Sanath Jayasuriya had already slashed a boundary through point when he aimed for another off Brett Lee - Tony Hill ruled an edge to Adam Gilchrist; Jayasuriya couldn't stop shaking his head. "It's not the start you want when you're chasing 550," the coach Trevor Bayliss said.

Turn of speed
In the first session Michael Clarke was trying not to stall against Farveez Maharoof when his attacking instinct erupted. Staying on the crease, he leaned back and bashed a Maharoof short ball over the bowler's head to signal the change of mood. After taking his time to get to 26, he moved to 46 in 14 balls to kick-start his innings of 145.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo