Second new ball will be 'really challenging' - Hussey
Michael Hussey believes his interrupted rescue act with Brad Haddin needs to double if they are to earn a dominant position in the opening Ashes Test. Australia will start the third day 40 runs behind England's first-innings 260 after Hussey and Haddin lifted the side with a partnership of 77.
The hosts were 5 for 143 when the pair joined forces after Steven Finn and James Anderson had held up the hosts following an opening stand of 78. Hussey (81) and Haddin (22) provided some comfort for Australia but are now headed for the most important part of the match.
"We had to battle pretty hard throughout that partnership," Hussey said. "We managed to get a good partnership but it's probably not even half what we require, we've got some really hard work to do tomorrow morning. The second new ball is going to be a really challenging time in the game."
England were about to take it when bad light stopped play 17 overs early, but they gained a slight boost when the groundsmen were slow to cover the pitch when a shower arrived. "The game is interestingly poised, it's pretty tight, probably 50-50 at the moment," Hussey said. "The first hour or two is going to be interesting to see what happens. It might be the pivotal point of the match."
Finn said England were happy with their results on a pitch that is still providing some help to the bowlers, and contributing to regular shifts in momentum. "That's been the nature of the game so far," he said. "It's ebbed and flowed, and I'm sure it will tomorrow."
This is Finn's first Ashes Test and the 21-year-old had an encouraging day. He collected the wickets of Michael Clarke, who edged behind pulling, and Simon Katich. Katich drove firmly back to Finn and he leaned forward for a stunning take just off the ground.
"If you watch me in the mornings, I practise catching low like that all the time," he said. "It's something I try and work on and am conscious of. I need to be able to take catches like that to make myself a better cricketer."
Finn was also punished at times by Hussey, particularly when he was pulling, and finished with 2 for 61 off 15 overs. The Gabba was almost full, but Finn said he wasn't intimidated.
"It was great to get out there and bowl," he said. "I heard the crowd all of yesterday shouting, 35,000 people. To be able to play in front of 35,000 today was great. I'm used to playing championship cricket in front of 20 people. To have so many people watching has been fantastic. I'm loving it at the moment."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo