On a Gabba wicket that would deny any batsman feeling at home, Mike Hussey demonstrated a combination of stern application and an aggressive array of stroke-play that has been missing from his game since he arrived on the international scene. Hussey flicked back in time when he was at the height of his powers as he controlled a probing and accurate English attack. Today, Hussey used his feet well, particularly on the back foot, punishing anything that was a fraction short. He sent his positive intent early by lifting Swann down the ground for six. Swann was then forced to bowl a shorter length, and as a result, Hussey punished Swann with powerful pulls.
As the intensity lifted, Hussey lifted. The consummate battler, Marcus North came and went. He completely misread Swann’s stock delivery. Further doubt has to be casted over his career after another failure. Michael Clarke hung around after Katich and Ponting went immediately after lunch. Yet, 50 balls later, the out-of-sorts Clarke finally gave in to the English pressure for a mere and painful 9. Hussey was once one of three Australian middle-order battlers, for today anyway, he showed a polish and class that resembled his old self. The vintage Hussey.
Earlier in the day, Katich and Watson continued their reliable opening partnership with patient stroke play against an organised and often superior English attack. Jimmy Anderson proved his doubters wrong with his ability to beat the bat on countless times without the aid of dramatic swing. The pairing of Anderson and Broad is a dangerous one. Both bowled aggressive and testing lines for the Australian batsman. Katich managed to scrape his way to a half-century before scooping one straight back to the lanky 6 foot 7 Finn. Ponting fell shortly after lunch by nicking the ball down the leg side. His dismissal as usual sparked an overwhelming enthusiasm and intensity from the Poms.
Like day one, the days play was even for the most part with neither team able to gain the ascendency. Yet, like yesterday, it was an individuals performance that seperated the two teams. Yesterday it was Siddle’s 6 wicket haul and mighty hatrick. Today it was Hussey’s calm and timely unbeaten knock of 81. Last Ashes series, the English were able to win those crucial periods. So far, the Australians have grasped the significant moments in the game.
At 5 for 220, with Haddin and Hussey batting with little difficulty, the Australians have taken the front position in the all important first Test.