Michael Hussey has batted for one last time in Test cricket. The gritty, Australian who invariably responded in style to any crisis on the field with a wonderful consistency came out at Sydney on Sunday to do what he simply loved over the years — guide his team to victory.
With captain Michael Clarke dismissed by Dilshan Tillakaratne (104 for three needing 141 to win), it gave a chance for Hussey to bat, even as Australia was making a heavy weather of a modest target.
The trademark, backfoot to pull off Dilshan from Hussey and the reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was proof that he could have gone on and on, given his amazing fitness level. But, like many champions, he decided to quit — when people ask why now and not the other way round.
Even in the last innings, the typical Hussey zeal to put team’s interest ahead of everything else was too obvious. Australia needed two runs to win after the tea break and Hussey on strike against Rangana Herath. After two dot balls, the veteran pushed one on to off-side for a single and gave Michael Johnson the strike, not caring to strike the winning run.
And, when his partner completed the formality — a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka to give an emphatic win in the series, the beaming face of Hussey said it all. He always cared for an Australian win and nothing else.
It has been a remarkable career indeed given the fact that Hussey made his Test debut at the age of 31 after scoring 10,000 first-class runs in Australian domestic cricket. That he held his own even as the more flamboyant hogged the limelight for different reasons is also a tribute to this terrific cricketer.
For the record, Hussey played 79 Tests, 6235 runs scored 19 centuries at an average of just around 50. In 185 ODIs, he scored 5442 runs at 48.15, 3 x 100s and 39 fifties.
Well, more than anyone else, the Indians should heave a sigh of relief for this fighter will not be there when Clarke’s team visits the sub-Continent for the Test series for his temperament and technique and the skill to play the waiting game to near perfection would have been a great asset for the Aussies.
“Very, very good to finish off with a win. Could not be more happier. Test cricket is great feeling. Definitely miss the dressing room atmosphere,” remarked 37-year-old Hussey later on.
“I just want to be remembered as a team member,” was his reply, so typical of his nature when asked how he would love to be remembered after his last Test match. Soon, it was a touching sight to see his two daughters and son join walk a few paces into the hallowed turf at the SCG and share those emotional moments as one of the finest cricketing careers comes to an end. Quite fittingly, Johnson and Siddle carry Hussey on their shoulders back into the dressing room.
No doubt, Hussey is the ultimate team man.