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Hussey pulls Australia out of the woods

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RESCUE ACT: Mike Hussey averted a disaster for Australia by scoring a splendid century against Board President’s XI on the third day of the four-day match on Saturday
RESCUE ACT: Mike Hussey averted a disaster for Australia by scoring a splendid century against Board President’s XI on the third day of the four-day match on Saturday

V.V. Subrahmanyam

Aakash Chopra and Badrinath fail in the second innings too

HYDERABAD: Michael Hussey adapted well to the Indian conditions by scoring a classy century which pulled Australia out of a crisis on the third day of the four-day cricket match against Board President’s XI at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday.

It was a typical Hussey innings (126 not out, 391 minutes, 302 balls, 14x4, 1x6) with emphasis on patience and stroke-selection. He helped his team score 314 in its first innings in reply to Board President’s XI first innings score of 455.

In its second essay, the host was 110 for two with opener Aakash Chopra and S. Badrinath failing again. Wasim Jaffer (46 batting, 5x4) and Yuvraj Singh (37 batting, 3x4, 2x6) looked determined with the latter delighting the sparse crowd with two beautiful sixes off left-arm spinner Michael Clarke.

Hussey’s knock, by all means, was the highlight of the day, overshadowing an impressive performance by the spinners — left-armer Pragyan Ojha and leggie Piyush Chawla — early in the first session.

Hussey played the sweep stroke to perfection and greeted the second new ball with a whip off Irfan Pathan to the fence past mid-on. Stuart Clark (44, 4x4, 2x6), who joined Hussey in the 13th over at 218 for nine, played with a lot of character.

Smart work

Ojha, who seemed to have made amends by flighting the ball more and sticking to a better line, triggered the Aussie slide in the very first over when he lured Brad Haddin to be stumped smartly by Parthiv Patel. In his next over, the left-armer saw Jason Krezja cut straight to captain Yuvraj Singh at slip.

Chawla took over from Ojha, trapping Brett Lee in front and sent back Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle in quick succession to leave Australia reeling at 218 for nine. That was the phase when the visitor lost five wickets, scoring only 27 runs. But, as the innings progressed, Stuart Clark started playing authentic strokes; he hit two huge sixes off Ojha and Piyush and one back-foot cover drive off Irfan. And, when Clark clipped Yuvraj straight to mid-on, which ended the 96-run stand for the last wicket, there was a sigh of relief in the President’s XI camp.

The scores:

Board President’s XI — 1st innings: 455.

Australia — 1st innings: M. Hayden c Patel b Irfan 20, S. Katich c Kohli b Ojha 15, R. Ponting b Chawla 41, M. Hussey (not out) 126, M. Clarke lbw b Chawla 18, B. Haddin st. Patel b Ojha 34, J. Krezja c Yuvraj b Ojha 0, B. Lee lbw b Chawla 0, M. Johnson c Chopra b Chawla 5, P. Siddle lbw b Chawla 2, S. Clark c Ojha b Yuvraj 44. Extras: (b-4, lb-5) 9. Total: (in 120.3 overs) 314.

Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-54, 3-94, 4-128, 5-199, 6-203, 7-204, 8-214, 9-218.

Board President’s XI bowling: Irfan 24-4-80-1, Gony 14-3-47-0, Ojha 34-10-72-3, Chawla 40-7-89-5, Yuvraj 5.3-1-9-1, Rohit 3-0-8-0.

Board President’s XI — 2nd innings: A. Chopra lbw b Clark 6, W. Jaffer (batting) 46, S. Badrinath c Haddins b Lee 14, Yuvraj Singh (batting) 37. Extras: (b-4, nb-3) 7. Total: (for two wkts. in 35 overs) 110.

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-35.

Australia bowling: Lee 9-1-30-1, Clark 5-2-10-1, Siddle 7-0-17-0, Johnson 6-1-15-0, Krejza 5-1-13-0, Michael Clarke 3-0-21-0.

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