Monkeygate had galvanised India, says Hussey
There's no place like home. For Western Australia's Mike Hussey, the return to his WACA Ground is all the more pleasing, given that three innings back it looked like his days in the Baggy Green were all but over. Rohit Bhaskar reports.india Updated: Jan 10, 2012 00:20 IST
There's no place like home. For Western Australia's Mike Hussey, the return to his WACA Ground is all the more pleasing, given that three innings back it looked like his days in the Baggy Green were all but over.
Hussey let out a primal scream when he was wrongly given out caught behind for a duck in the first innings of the opening Test in Melbourne when replays suggested he had not nicked it.
In the following two innings, the man nicknamed 'Mr Cricket' made sure he will be around for a little while longer. The second innings 79 at the MCG forced critics to hold fire, and the unbeaten 150 in Sydney silenced even the staunchest detractors.
Now, Hussey returns to one of his favourite hunting grounds, where he has scored tons of runs in Sheffield Shield and a century in his last Test - the Ashes match against England.
Former Australia opener Graeme Wood, also from Western Australia, explains why Hussey is so good at the WACA. "The great thing about Perth is the bounce is very true. If you watch Hussey bat, you'll notice he lets a lot of balls go. He knows where his off-stump is, so he leaves many deliveries. Players who haven't played here will try to play the balls pitched outside off-stump," said Wood.
Explaining his own love for the venue where he averages 53.45 and has struck two centuries, Hussey said, "I love the Perth Test. The crowds here show unbelievable support. The roar you get as a local player when you come out to bat or take a catch is 10 times louder than for any other player. We're a very parochial mob over here. I know the conditions extremely well as well, so that's an advantage over other players from around the country and around the world. It is a great place to play cricket. Once you get in on this pitch, it's fantastic for batting."
Australia may have won convincingly in Sydney, but Hussey believes the beleaguered Indians still have it in them to fight back. "The goal is to go 3-0. That would be awesome. But, it's going to be a tough Test match. India has got some great players, a lot of experience and a lot of pride. I expect them to bounce back quite hard."
Speaking of India's historic win at the WACA four years ago, on the heels of the infamous 'Monkeygate' Test at the SCG, Hussey felt the controversy in Sydney united India.
"There was obviously a lot of controversy after the Sydney Test which I think in a way galvanised India. They came here with a determination to do well, and maybe looking back, I didn't feel at the time that it affected our team, but maybe it did a bit, the controversy. And there were some real outstanding performances in that game. It was probably the birth of Ishant Sharma, who bowled unbelievably well in that Test. I remember a spell to Ponting which was just phenomenal bowling."