'I will struggle to sleep tonight' - Hussey
The leftover adrenaline from a career-best score and a record partnership with Brad Haddin will keep Michael Hussey buzzing through the night. All the replays will be worthwhile as he works through the epic 195 that saved his career and ensured his side is in the best position to win the opening Test.
Hussey walked off disappointed to miss a double-century and Haddin remained cool with 136 as their sixth-wicket stand of 307 put Australia in command. The pair sweated for 398 minutes, taking the side from the danger of 5 for 143 to the safety of a first-innings total of 481.
"It was quite satisfying to do what we did today," Haddin said, "but we had to get over it pretty quick and get back on the field and get back to reality. I'll probably have a good sleep tonight."
Hussey's evening will be spent trying to calm down. "I've still got plenty of adrenaline running through my body," Hussey said. "I might struggle to get off to sleep."
Haddin operates mostly as the carefree shot-maker while Hussey is a workman, and their complementary styles gelled perfectly. Australia started the third day 40 runs behind but three sessions later their advantage was a hefty 202. The biggest threats came in the extended session before lunch when they had to overcome a committed England push from James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
"The first hour-and-a-half was probably the hardest Test bowling I've ever had to face," Haddin said. "It was a pretty conscious effort for us to get through that unscathed."
After the initial threats eased, the men were able to enjoy the view, checking off various milestones on the way. When they had combined for 277 they passed the highest Test stand at the Gabba, beating the effort of Don Bradman and Lindsay Hassett against England in 1946-47. At the finish their tally was the 12th best in Australia-England Tests.
"It was good fun," Hussey said. "We had a laugh along the way and we talked about our struggles and any negative thoughts going through our minds and kept focused. I thoroughly enjoyed the partnership."
While Haddin picked up his third century, Hussey moved to his 12th. He passed his previous best of 182 against Bangladesh, and narrowly missed a maiden double.
"I was very disappointed," Hussey said. "I was very, very determined to get to 200, but it wasn't to be. As I was walking off, I thought to myself - as much as I was very disappointed - 'I've got to soak this in and really enjoy it'."
Australia's next job is to grab 10 wickets and the breakthroughs won't come easily on a pitch that has flattened out. "I think it's going to be tough tomorrow, definitely," Hussey said. "There are some cracks opening up in some good areas for us, so we hope that can put some doubts in the batsmen's minds.
"But we're under no illusions. It's going to be a good, hard day of Test cricket tomorrow. We're going to have to be very patient, very disciplined for long periods of time. I believe if we are, and hold our catches, we'll have a great chance."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo