Hussey avoids the finger of blame

 

by Darren Dawson

The finger of blame could be pointed at Sri Lanka, Australia and the wicket. All were culpable in allowing the Third Test in this hitherto interesting series to peter out into the tamest of draws. In what seemed a reaction to the raging turner produced for the First Test, the home team produced featherbeds in the following two encounters; tracks on which the likelihood of twenty wickets being taken was minimal. Yes, the weather may have robbed Australia in Kandy, but the pitch did not do anyone any favours at all. Interestingly, that afore-mentioned wicket in Galle has been frowned upon by the ICC.

Sri Lanka’s treacle-like first innings succeeded in running down the clock and ensured Australia would not have enough time to build a lead sufficient enough to have another crack at the hosts. And the Aussies? Well, Phil Hughes apart, it appeared as if all they were interested in was glorified batting practice.

Hughes’ innings ended early on Day 5, but he will be very satisfied to be leaving Sri Lanka with another test ton to his name. He was given a good run at Simon Katich’s old opening slot, and secured it with what was most certainly his last chance. Hughes polarises we traditionalists (at least Marsh looks like a batsman!), but there is no doubt that he leaves viewers on the edge of their seats.  His aggressive knock was full of confidence. Michael Clarke also took the opportunity to cash in on the final day, notching up his first 100 as skipper. I wasn’t entirely convinced by his knock: the new, improved Clarke seems to be trying too hard.

For me, the story of the series for Australia has been the continued resurgence of Michael Hussey: whether fielding, bowling(!), or batting, Hussey has been at the top of his game. Giving no thought to anything other grinding out runs, Mr Cricket has been the player of the series. His final day 93 was the innings of a man who is still hungry for runs.

Brad Haddin’s 30 was neither here nor there, which summed up his tour. He needs big runs against South Africa, or the dogs will be barking. There are plenty of wicket-keeper-batsmen back in Australia nipping at his heels.

But in the end, this match was most unsatisfying, and entirely predictable. Sporting contests are not supposed to be like this. The fourth innings was a farce, with Sri Lanka facing two overs. Why?

Throughout the match, Sri Lanka refused to be more aggressive, happy to lose the series 1-0 rather than choosing a bold approach and the possibility of putting Australia under more pressure and tieing the series (even though it risked going down 2-0).

Is this the start of a new era for Australia? Only time will tell. For now a 1-0 series win will suffice. There are some positive signs. But questions remain. Chief among them what to do about Ponting and Johnson.

 

 

 

 

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Comments

  1. Thanks Smoke.

    I would’ve loved an Aussie declaration but the SSC served up another road.

    Ponting to 6 and on the way out?

    Clarke must stay at 5.

    Johnson will probably turn it on in South Africa. It’s a happy hunting ground.

    Although the role of a cricket coach is overrated (I’m from the Chappell school here), I’m happy that Nielson has gorn.

    A 1-0 series win is not a bad effort.

  2. I agree with all of the above Flynny.
    The series has been interesting.
    Johnson needs to be a great 8, but just won’t work.
    We need pace…hope the kids progress.
    Great to see some trickier conditions on occasions around the world and that old, tight techniques like Huss and Bell then come through. The “bullies” get found out.

  3. I agree with Peter Flynn in that a 1-0 series victory is better than no series win at all. It was a good effort, let’s just hope the Aussies can sustain it.
    But I think we all can agree the pitches should have been better. We can but hope we’ll get some better decks in South Africa and at home to India.

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