October 10, 2008

Australia in India 2008-09

Daring to dream

Nishi Narayanan
Michael Hussey celebrates his ninth Test hundred, India v Australia, 1st Test, Bangalore, 2nd day, October 10, 2008
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It is not so long ago that Michael Hussey was cast as a reliable batsman lacking the special ability required to break out of his mould. But on Friday he was in the thick of the action, looking like he belonged, looking like he had been in Test cricket all his life, writes Peter Roebuck in the Melbourne-based Age.

So there he was, the immovable object, holding the innings together, ensuring that the Australians did not squander their advantage. To that end he wore down the attack, thereby adding to the pressure on the home batsmen. Better than most, Hussey knows the value of secured runs. As usual he advanced unobtrusively and it took a glance at the board to realise that he had reached 24 and then 43 and the other posts along his route. He does not set out to collar the bowling, just to score as quickly and as safely as possible.

All that hard yakka in domestic cricket taught him a lot about making the right decisions at the crease. Discernment had been a weakness. Those seasons did not curb his ambition so much as inform his mind. Accordingly, he arrived in Test cricket armed with a lot of knowledge and plenty of experience. He was able to bat regularly and to study his craft without feeling that his career, his entire life, depended on the next ball.

Hussey showed that the art of Test batting comprises protracted defence and sporadic attack, of knowing the field and stealing the singles, and batting with the tail, writes Rohit Mahajan in Outlook.

Ravi Shastri, writing in the Hindustan Times, feels India's batsmen need to watch out for the variable bounce on the Bangalore pitch. He adds that Virender Sehwag's performance in the series may well prove decisive in the outcome.

Sehwag is the man of the moment. He doesn’t hold himself back, howsoever wretched a cricket pitch be. He knows the vagaries of this strip and was thus prepared to take his chances while the ball was still new. It wouldn't get any easier for him now but Viru knows only one way to bat.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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