Australia 430 India 68-0: Hussey keeps his cool to put Australia in driving seat

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The Independent Online

Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan claimed a five-wicket haul, but not before Michael Hussey had steered Australia to a position of strength on the second day of the first Test here. Zaheer picked up three quick wickets shortly after tea as Australia were bowled out for an impressive 430.

Hussey had brought up his ninth Test century with a rare inside-edged boundary, but was the last man out when he inside-edged a Zaheer delivery on to his stumps to depart for 146, his highest Test score against India. By the close, India's openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag had reduced some of the advantage with an unbeaten 68-run stand. Sehwag was the aggressor reaching stumps on 43 while Gambhir was on 20 when a sharp shower ended play nine overs early.

Ishant Sharma dismissed Shane Watson in the second over of the day but Hussey, who resumed on his overnight 46, looked untroubled as he led vital partnerships with Brad Haddin and later Brett Lee. "It was a slow wicket with a bit of uneven bounce, there are a bit of cracks and indentations, a dry wicket," said Hussey. "It was a challenge. All centuries are all special but I guess India is the toughest place to play cricket for an Australian and so this is very special." Hussey opened the tour with a century in Australia's only warm-up match in Hyderabad last week. "Our run scoring was determined by the kind of fields that Anil [Kumble, India captain] set for us, they had kept fielders in the deep and the field was spread out so we could get the singles better than the fours."

Hussey and Haddin (33) had added 91 runs for the sixth wicket with the wicketkeeper-batsman looking good for more when he was dismissed by Ishant just after lunch. Haddin was early into his shot and scooped the ball to VVS Laxman at short cover.

Cameron White (two) also fell to Ishant, but the Indian attack was otherwise insipid. Hussey put on 59 runs with Brett Lee (27), but their association was ended by Zaheer just after tea. The left-arm paceman first bowled Lee in the second over after the break. Zaheer then cleaned up Mitchell Johnson (one) and Hussey was the second victim in the same over.

By then, Hussey, who had thrown caution to the wind after the fall of Lee, had clobbered 15 boundaries and a six