Australia bracing up for India backlash: Mike Hussey

Mike Hussey said Indian batsmen know their game so well, they have played in Australia and they could bounce back AFP

By Ashish Shukla

Sydney: Jan 1, 2012

Senior Australian batsman Michael Hussey is a bit “nervous” ahead of the second cricket Test against India as he has a feeling that, led by the iconic Sachin Tendulkar, the visitors’ batting line-up would click in unison in the match starting on Tuesday.

“I am a bit nervous. With the stars aligning with Tendulkar needing one more hundred (to get to his 100th international cetury) in Sydney — he has made runs here. It is ominous,” stated Hussey.

Australia won the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by 122 runs and Michael Hussey, with 89 to him, played a critical hand. The left-hander said the Aussies are bracing up for an Indian fightback in the match.

“They know their game so well, they have played in Australia and they could bounce back,” he said.

Hussey though took a lot of heart from the Australian pacers’ performance in Melbourne and felt if the SCG favoured the bowlers, it could still turn out to be tough for the Indians.

“We will see over the next couple of days how are the conditions. In recent years this pitch has done a lot, especially on the first day. In Melbourne, just outside the off-stump, there was extra bounce and seam movement which caused a lot of wickets.

“In Sydney, the wicket now has changed texture. While earlier it looked to be a real dust-bowl, it’s semi-friendly know and when overhead conditions are helpful, it’s tough to bat in the last few years, particularly early in the match,” he said.

“The Indian batsmen are extremely skillful. They know their game so well, they have played in Australia, they could bounce back but we can take confidence as well. Our bowlers were relentless (in MCG). If they remain so at Sydney, it would be tough fight for the Indians.”

MCG is still fresh in the mind of Hussey where, besides his runs, he caught a fierce cut off Sehwag which probably tilted the match decisively in Australia’s favour.

“We had a decent total; a chase of 292 runs was difficult but then Sehwag could destroy the game in two hours. If he had batted that long, India were on way to victory.

“It was a huge wicket…we knew it and India knew it. It wasn’t the best ball bowled by Ben in his life. He bowled to Sehwag’s strength and I didn’t see all that fast. But it happened to stick. So in that sense I had a bit of luck and all the team were thankful that it stuck.”

Hussey also attributed the luck which he got first up in the second innings which got him going and put a match-defining innings together.

“It was a case of getting a start. Luckily for me it was on my pads (the first delivery). Sometimes it helps the confidence. They had us in trouble and they were attacking us, coming from over the wicket. It opened up scoring opportunity and enabled us to get a stand.”

Hussey couldn’t hide his disappointment on the first day when he was wrongly given out off a lifting delivery from Zaheer Khan.

“It was a reaction which said: give me a break. I was preparing so well, I felt good in mind, hitting the ball well, I don’t think I was getting any reward for it. So I was yelling at cricket gods to give me a break.

“I got a bit of break in the second innings and that’s how the game goes.”

Hussey also dwelled on his partnership with Ricky Ponting on the third evening which was worth 115.

“(When runs are not coming), I keep coming at the basics.

“They way I plan and think, you’ve got to have. I keep coming at the basics. I just know positive stick to my game, the way I plan and think, you got to have belief a score just around the corner, that’s basically I do.

“I wasn’t thinking about myself. My main thoughts were to get a stand with Ricky Ponting and I was not thinking about my spot in the team. We desperately needed a stand and I was lucky to be with Ricky with whom I have batted a few times.

Interestingly, while Hussey favours the use of Umpire Decision Review System, he feels the technology is still not fool proof.

“I am for the technology but then it can be improved, particularly the tracking system with the ball.

“Indians didn’t want to use it that’s fine. That’s fair enough. There is no greater feeling when a team is in trouble and you have a stand which can win the match. When you sit back and remember such feelings, it’s great; you get respect from your peers.”

The last time the two sides played here, it was an ill-tampered game which had “monkey-gate” and a lot of poor performances.

“That’s in the past. Players involved have moved on.

Harbhajan (Singh) and (Andrew) Symonds played together for the Mumbai Indians in IPL. It no longer is spoken in our dressing room,” he maintained.(PTI)