Australia 329-3, Sri Lanka: Hussey and Jaques put Australia in driving seat
Saturday 17 November 2007
Groundhog day in Hobart. Although the weather was brighter and the Tasmanian crowd more animated, the cricket followed a familiar course. Australia took first innings, saw off the new ball and then tore apart a modest attack on a firm pitch. Not even the recall of Lasinth Malinga interrupted the flow.
Phil Jaques led the batting. In Brisbane the chunky left-hander had marked his first Test hundred with an uncharacteristic rush of blood, a mistake he had no intention of repeating. His second hundred was composed and evenly paced. At first the bowling demanded respect, especially Malinga's slingers and slower balls. Accordingly Jaques bided his time. Once set he pushed the score along efficiently. Without seeming to hurry, he outpaced both Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting. Where his comrades strained and perished, Hayden losing patience and trying a front foot cut against the utterly undeserving Dilhara Fernando, and his captain groping at an undetected doosra, the unflappable southpaw did not stray from the tried and trusted.
Jaques is a considerably more accomplished batsmen than he appears. Much has been made of the hard work undertaken by an admittedly prominent bottom hand. Less attention is paid to his judgement and ability to play the ball at the last instant. Also he covers his stumps by shuffling in front of them thereby protecting them from intrusion. On closer inspection the southpaw does an awful lot right.
Doubtless it came as a relief to the newcomer that his first run came quickly. Sometimes he cracks square, sometimes he steers past slip, sometimes glides through gully.
Michael Hussey widened the breach opened by his team-mate. From the start he was impressive, pulling anything fractionally short, reading Muttiah Muralitharan easily and playing him off the deck, threading the ball through extra-cover with a roll of the wrists and running between wickets with great pace and thoughtfulness. A dash against the second new ball took him to his hundred before stumps. It had taken him 169 balls, 17 more than Jaques required. Hussey has scored 1,000 runs in his first ten Tests and never known defeat.
Amongst the rest, Hayden survived a chance to second slip on 12 off the persevering Farveez Maharoof but could not dominate. Ponting tried to use his feet as Murali aimed at leg-stump but did not last. Upon reaching 150 Jaques lifted carelessly to long-off but Australia did not falter. It was another grim day for the Sri Lankans.
Manchester United vs Newcastle match report: Brilliant Wayne Rooney scores twice to fire up United's unlikely title challenge
Championship round-up: Emile Heskey back with a bang in Bolton victory
Arsenal vs QPR player ratings: Could anyone outshine new Gunners hero Alexis Sanchez and who was worse than villain Olivier Giroud?
Manchester United 3 Newcastle 1: 'I'm playing like Paul Scholes,' says Wayne Rooney
Sports Quiz of the Year 2014: The Questions
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk