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Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day

Hussey looks to the skies

Andrew Miller at Adelaide

December 6, 2010

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

The rain closes in at Adelaide Oval, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day, December 6, 2010
The forecast gives Australia a chance of escaping Adelaide with a draw © Getty Images
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Michael Hussey has admitted that Australia will have one eye on the heavens come the final day of the second Test at Adelaide, as they resume their second innings on 4 for 238, a deficit of 137 runs. A gutsy day's batting from Australia was undermined by the last ball before stumps when Michael Clarke fenced Kevin Pietersen to short leg, leaving Hussey - and the weather - as their best hopes of escaping with a draw and going to Perth next week with the series all-square.

England declared early on the fourth morning on 5 for 620, meaning Australia began their second innings with a 375-run deficit. For a while it seemed that they might reach the close with seven wickets still intact, when a tropical storm swept through the ground to bring an abrupt halt to the afternoon session. However, the weather cleared almost as quickly as it had arrived, and after a 57-minute delay, the teams were able to get back out onto the field.

Hussey will resume his innings on 44 not out alongside the under-pressure Marcus North, who has yet to face a ball, and he said that another deluge would be very gratefully received. "A little bit of rain would help, that's for sure," Hussey said. "I don't think we can look at the weather too much, we've just got to try and concentrate on batting as much time as we can and hanging in there. We're going to need a bit of luck, the conditions are pretty tough for batting at times, but certainly, a couple of hours of rain would help our cause."

Australia's bid for salvation may also have been aided by a stomach muscle strain that Stuart Broad sustained during the afternoon session. Though he returned to the field after treatment and produced some energetic work on the boundary's edge, he did not bowl in the latter stages of the day, and was earlier seen wearing a brace in the nets and looking very immobile as he went through his motions with the England back-room staff.

Graeme Swann, who is England's likeliest matchwinner on a wicket offering considerable turn out of the footholes, played down the extent of Broad's injury in his typically off-hand manner. "I don't actually know [if he'll be able to bowl]," said Swann. "I assume so because he came back on the field so I assume his time off was just being spent with the medical staff, having his hair done or something."

In Broad's absence, Steven Finn produced one of his best spells since his six-wicket haul at the Gabba, finding a hint of reverse swing with the old ball, and Swann backed him to play a big part on the final day. "Reverse swing is very hard to control and for a young lad to be able to control it like he did, he bowled exceptionally today," said Swann. "He hits good channel, gets good pace, especially at the end of the day, but he's a relatively robust young man so there's no surprise that he can do that."

Hussey, meanwhile, set his sights on another marathon rearguard innings, in a series in which he is emerging as Australia's only reliable batsman. "I'd be lying if I said I loved it, but it's certainly rewarding to come in in a pressure situation and get your team into a position to win the match or save the match," he said. "It gives you a lot of satisfaction. I wish I could come out like Bradman and smash them everywhere, but unfortunately the game doesn't work that.

"We'll have to wait and see [if we can save it]," he added. "We've got a lot of hard work to do before we can think about that, but if we can draw the match, England will see it as a loss so that's got to drive us on. We've certainly been outplayed, no question, but if we can get away with 0-0 it will be a great result for us. But we've got a bit of hard work to do, maybe a bit of luck and hopefully some weather to help us along the way."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

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Posted by landl47 on (December 7, 2010, 1:59 GMT)

@Something_Witty: weren't you saying how much better Doherty had been in FC cricket over the last 18 months, average of 27? Maybe FC cricket in Australia has really gone downhill. While we're talking, Hilf is twice the bowler Anderson is? Swann is only a finger-spinner? Finn slings down pies? Johnson will be a different bowler in Australian conditions? Bollinger is accurate even when the ball is moving around? England can't take 20 wickets in a game in Australia? Australia, certain win at the Gabba? Adelaide, certain draw on a road pitch (well, you got the road right, at least when England was batting)? Which test were you watching in Edgbaston- Aus got 263 in their first innings and England replied with 376. Australia were 4-161, then got some cheap runs as it was obvious there was no time for a result. Let's face it, you accused me of being one-eyed, but everything I said would happen has happened. How are your predictions going?

Posted by miketurney on (December 7, 2010, 0:53 GMT)

you need that weather pretty soon now-hahaha

Posted by Something_Witty on (December 7, 2010, 0:42 GMT)

Haha landl, it would have been hard for England to beat us in our own conditions if the selectors had selected our best team. Unfortunately our chance of winning the ashes disappeared when the selectors retained North and somehow found reason to drop Nathan Hauritz. Yes Hauritz wasn't the best spinner of all time, but he was steady enough and had a decent record against England. It's not even just that, it's the principle of the thing. The selectors making baseless, ridiculous decisions like that, to bring in an uncapped SLA bowler with a poor FC record ENTIRELY on the basis that Kevin Pietersen is in the England team just shows how timid and conservative they are. Also, if truth be told, in 09 rain saved England at Cardiff AND at Edgbaston. - Aus would have won at Edgbaston as well if the full quota had been played.

Posted by crankypet on (December 6, 2010, 22:57 GMT)

@miketurney. Not debating that they should have bowled them out sooner. But you cant say what you said with a straight face.¨i think the Aussies will need help from the weather whereas England didnt in those 2 tests¨ A whole day plus lost with Australia with an innings in hand, even if the last wicket took another hour and 50 extra runs, aussies would have got them in less than a session. you´re writing this as if englands innings was the 4th innings and they were holding out. Australia would have been the 4th innings. Exact same scenario as today.

Posted by M.D. on (December 6, 2010, 22:48 GMT)

Listen to everyone! bickering over past rain-affected games. I am an Australian supporter and I hope the sun comes out and stays out all day. Yes, we are a shaddow of our former selves. Yes, we are struggling with bat and ball. Yes, we do have a spinner crisis and an under performing captain. But only cowards pray for rain! If we save this game without the rain, It is a huge statement. The English will see that even while they are outplaying Australia in every facet of the game (even fielding for once!) they are still incapable of producing a a win on australian soil! It has been a very long time since they have won a test match here and they will know that.... even more so after this match is drawn! And sure we could lose, it is a likely outcome but I would rather the slim chance to draw it off our own bat than the certainty of drawing from in the sheds!

Posted by Phat-Boy on (December 6, 2010, 22:36 GMT)

Crankypet - neck up. For the best part of 15 years, in addition to the phenomenal team that Australia had, just about everything that could go their way did go their way. Yet you still find a way to whinge about only the 5th series they lost in 13 years.

Posted by landl47 on (December 6, 2010, 22:22 GMT)

Sad to see the once-proud Aussies praying for rain. Something_Witty was telling me before the series how hard it would be for England to beat Australia in Australian conditions- I didn't realize he meant when the games are rained out. However, it's absolutely the case that even though England have completely dominated this test, if they don't win then Australia will be over the moon. All they will need is to get the best of the conditions in the next test and it could be 1-0 Australia. The only thing England will be able to take from this game is that they are better than the Australians in every department, batting, bowling, fielding and captaincy. That means the Aussies need some luck to win, whereas England only need the playing field to be level. Not sure which Gabba test popcorn is talking about- England lost last time and would have won this time with an extra day, so he must be going back a fair way. Anyway, hopefully rain won't intervene and we'll see the better team win.

Posted by finncam on (December 6, 2010, 22:00 GMT)

miketurney, it was not only rain that helped England, but significant help from Billy Bowden, just like in Edgebaston 05, when he incorrectly gave Kasper out to hand England the match on a plate - a real howler. And to Devagupta Mahesh - try wathcing the match or the stats - both Hussey and Haddin scored centuries at the Gabba.

Posted by miketurney on (December 6, 2010, 21:59 GMT)

crankypet - if you cant bowl tailenders out dont blame the weather. you had more than 55 overs to get 4 wickets and over 80 balls at numbers 10 and 11 at Cardiff. Good luck to Aussies if they bat all day , but i cant see England letting Bollinger last 10 overs

Posted by sonicattack on (December 6, 2010, 21:27 GMT)

@popcorn Oh - I thought Cardiff '09 levelled out Old Trafford '05!!!

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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