Michael Hussey thoroughly enjoyed his maiden Test hundred at Hobart © Getty Images

Michael Hussey finally owns a cherished Test cap but still misses the full markings of an Australian player. Talking about his second-Test Man-of-the-Match award at Bellerive Oval, Hussey sat proudly next to Ricky Ponting who had the initials "RP" embroidered on a sleeve and "368" hanging over his heart. Although Hussey's cream-coloured kit had the blaring sponsor logos, it was naked of the personal touches.

A nine-day-old Test player, he is waiting for all the trimmings to arrive, unlike his entry as an opening batsman, which was so impressive, Australia gave their wunderkind Michael Clarke time to "clear his head". Hussey fully expected a demotion to the state scene when Justin Langer recovered from the fractured rib that provided his state team-mate with an international opening, but Trevor Hohns has shown the respect the selection panel has for his versatile talents by handing him a middle-order spot at Adelaide for the third Test against West Indies.

Having spent years accumulating runs for Hohns' attention, Hussey has elbowed his way into the spotlight with the Hobart double of 137 and 31 not out. People suddenly want to know if he's Mike or Michael - he's happy with either - and team-mates have responded to his comprehensive knowledge of the game by nicknaming him "Mr Cricket". A qualified teacher who prefers delivering run-scoring lessons, he is studious at the crease and in front of the cameras, sitting still to answer questions with the care he would use to sand his bat.

The same level of application was missing as nerves consumed his Test debut, but his emotions settled for the second match and he was the calm and relaxed version familiar to besotted English and Western Australian audiences. More importantly, he is not troubled by a move in Adelaide, probably to No.5 behind Brad Hodge, and if he proves half as productive in the centre of the Test order as he has been in a Bradmanesque spurt averaging more than 100 in the one-day team he could fill any batting position in the side.



Hussey is a player who knows a thing or two about waiting for his chance © Getty Images

For nearly a decade he has pushed for a chance, yet a vacancy meant to last a maximum of a couple of weeks could now translate into a stay for a couple of years. His flexibility is suddenly fashionable and Hussey has made Hohns an offer he can't refuse.

"For me it's nice to know I can succeed at Test level and I'd bat at 11 if they wanted me to," he says. "Being an opener is a lot different to batting in the middle order, but I guess with having the experience in one-day cricket of playing there it hopefully won't make the adjustment too much."

A settled high-performing core at the top and bottom of the team will also help the transition as Australia adapt to losing their Ashes stomach of Clarke, Damien Martyn and Simon Katich in the past two matches. While the ousted players prepare their arguments for readmission, Hussey can calculate how to turn himself from a Mr Fixit into an indispensable after an age on the side's periphery.

As Shivnarine Chanderpaul briefly dissected West Indies' performance at Hobart he couldn't remember the name of Dwayne Bravo, who played the game's other outstanding innings, and a team official had to fill in the embarrassing blank. Hussey's dramatic impact on Australian cricket over the past week is unlikely to be forgotten quickly, especially by an appreciative captain, and it can't be long before his Test number of 393 and the intials "MH" adorn all his shirts.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo