Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day December 16, 2010

Hussey confident of Australia fightback


Australia's Ashes situation is so perilous that the hosts will look anywhere for a good omen. After another day of being dominated by England, Michael Hussey peered back four years to the WACA match when Australia wrapped up the urn on the way to a 5-0 cleansweep.

On that occasion the local unit was jammed with world-beating talent and could win from any situation. The current outfit, which was dismissed for 268 after being 4 for 36, has only three players - Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke - from those all-conquering days and is experiencing the country's worst slump in 25 years.

Despite all the troubles, Hussey remained publicly confident of Australia's chances in the game, which could determine whether England retains the urn. "I don't think it's as below par as some people would think," Hussey said of the score. "I've played in quite a few Test matches here where the first-innings totals have been in the mid-200s.

"Tomorrow will tell the tale if we're below par or not. Even four years ago we were out for a similar total and were able to bowl England out for less than us. It will have to be the same again."

On that occasion Australia were dismissed for 244 and gained a 29-run lead on first innings before running away with the contest with hundreds to Hussey, Clarke and Adam Gilchrist. This time they will rely on a bowling attack with six serious operators but only one spinner after Ponting decided to conscript a pace army.

The tactic might have been more successful if Ponting had won the toss, but instead Andrew Strauss chose to bowl and his men benefited from the bouncy, seaming conditions. The first wicket went to Chris Tremlett (3 for 63) in the second over of the day and by the time Steven Smith was dismissed shortly after lunch the hosts were 5 for 69.

Michael Beer, the left-arm spinner, was not handed a debut in a strange move and Ponting will have to rotate his quicks as Australia desperately chase their first wicket. "The selectors decided to go the fast-bowler option and we just need to back that 100%," Hussey said. "There's certainly enough there for the fast bowlers and it's good we've got a good artillery of them."

England finished at 0 for 28 and had few troubles against Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris. "It was a great last half an hour," Tremlett said. "The guys fought hard to fight off the new ball, which is key, so we'll look to bat time, get a healthy lead, and look to go out and bowl them out again."

Australia have managed only 16 breakthroughs in the series and Hussey is hoping for a quick turnaround. "I'm quietly confident, we've certainly got a pitch that will aid us," he said. "If we can bowl well at both ends and get the ball in the right area there's enough there for us. There's enough grass on the wicket and enough movement off the seam."

Hussey posted a hard-working 61 when the conditions were at their toughest and it continued his impressive streak since he saved his career with a domestic hundred for Western Australia last month. He has 401 runs for the series but is not getting much top-order help. Mitchell Johnson (62) and Brad Haddin (53) were the other major contributors on another troubling day.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anver on December 17, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    As Hussey expected Aussies are back in this test. they' r applying pressure on Eng on the 2nd day & might all out under Aus score of 268...... nice to see Johnson is also back with good performance with bat & bowl so far........

  • Chris on December 17, 2010, 2:06 GMT

    England haven't been extraordinary here, Australia have just been woeful and really made England look incredibly good.

    Basically what we are seeing here is a series between one team that's worked hard on getting the basics right, and one that clearly hasn't.

    England batsmen leave the ball outside off stump, Aussie's keep hanging the bats out there and nicking them. England bowlers keep a consistent line and length, Australian bowlers are all over the place. England batsmen have the patience to wait for the bad ball - which is coming frequent because of aforementioned Aussie waywardness, while the Aussies keep getting impatient. England hold onto their catches, Australia drop theirs.

    There is no rocket science here, the Aussies are getting out in ways they shouldn't and aren't patient enough and accurate enough with the ball to build any pressure on the English batsmen.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    Mitch 6 for sinks england, will be the heading on cricinfo in 14 hours. Mitcg 2010 Ashes is on. Go for it Ricky.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    Is that 21 or 22 sessions England have won in a row in this series since 27th November?

  • Martin on December 16, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    Not that I feel sorry for Hussey - but it's a bit off when you have to carry your teams batting, and then you have to come out and talk cobblers about it. Advice for you Mr Cricket - save your energy for chasing the ball over the next two days - you're going to need it.

  • Ghulam Mustafa on December 16, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    I am really amazed on Australia's performance going this much backward... I never thought of Australia's downfall. I hope they get back and get back quickly and back themselves up for new all conquering era that Steve Waugh started and continued by Ricky. I love You Australia... Go Go Go!!!

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2010, 20:28 GMT

    I hope England Bats Tomorrow till tea :-)

  • Varnendra on December 16, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    In 2005 amazingly every England player was playing brilliantly to beat a great Australian team. This time around a similar thing happening. Even Collingwood has only failed once but is holding onto blinders. Everyone looks so fit and aggressive. I tell you it is not Australia underperforming. They just can't perform this time around as the great Ghilchrist couldn't in 2005. England would match even if the great Australian team return now. Just see the way Cook bats; it is almost impossible to remove him. I never thought he is a good batsman. It is the second miracle series for England.

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    This match n series is not over!!! Once ponting get runs Team will lift the tempo as well

  • Sibhi on December 16, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    As i have told already,Only watson,hussey and Haddin Deserves a top order spot in this team,Ponting and clarke should do themselves a favor by getting dropped.This is bad for once the Dominant team.I hate Ponting so much,that i'm enjoying this downfall.All i can do is pity on Hussey ,who are one of my fav players!!

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