He hasn't been around for that long but Michael Hussey is fast making up for the time he spent in wilderness while struggling to break into the Australian Test team. Among cricketers who have played four Tests or more, only the legendary Sir Don Bradman with his freakish average of 99.94 betters Hussey's 70.60.
Perhaps the most unassuming of Australia's successful cricketers, Hussey played down this achievement. “You need luck along the way. It took me a long time to get into the Australian team so I just want to use every opportunity that I get and never take it for granted,” said Hussey at the end of his marathon 146. “Like all the guys in the dressing room I wear the baggy green cap with a lot of pride and none of us takes it for granted. So every day is very important and very special.”
But even for someone who counts every day as special, making a Test century in India stands out. “It is particularly special to get a Test match hundred in India which is arguably the toughest place for an Australian,” said Hussey. “At different stages, the challenges are different. With the new ball, any sort of cracks or indentations on the pitch can cause trouble to the batsman,” he explained. “As the ball gets softer and starts reverse swinging, it becomes a different challenge again. I thought most of today and yesterday was challenging.”
But Hussey was well equipped to overcome the challenge ahead of him, and it helped that the backbone of his game was patience and hard work, not flamboyance or hard hitting. “India is a great place to bat and it probably suits me to be patient. I guess we played my style of play, the patient game of Test cricket,” said Hussey. “You get great rewards for your shots here because the outfields are so fast here. You just have to place the ball and you get great rewards.”
This was Hussey's ninth century, and critically Australia have never lost when he has reached three figures in a Test. There's a long way to go in this game yet, but Hussey has done his bit, and he certainly thinks it won't get any easier for the batsmen. “It will definitely be harder to bat as the Test match wears on. Already it is very dry, with a lot of cracks in it, so it is inevitable that you hit the top of the bounce or something like that,” he said. “There is just enough variable bounce there to keep all the bowlers interested particularly our fast bowlers.”