Hussey 'shattered' by Ashes loss

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The Independent Online

Michael Hussey can be forgiven mixed feelings, in the knowledge his hundred at the Oval may have revived his Test career but could not salvage the Ashes.

While Hussey's second-innings 121 did much for his own flagging reputation as a middle-order cornerstone, he was unable to help Australia bat even into the final day before admitting defeat by 197 runs.



England, therefore, regained the Ashes 2-1 on Sunday night - a crushing outcome for Hussey.



"I was shattered really, absolutely shattered, pretty emotional at the end of it all," he recalls.



"Sitting down there - the boys had gone down on the ground - and I was taking my pads off in the dressing room. It was pretty hard to take."



There is, however, at least a little personal consolation at going on to a three-figure score for the only time in the npower series. Asked whether he was beginning to fear for his Test future, the 34-year-old conceded: "You definitely have doubts.



"But I do know my game and just wanted to be true to my game.



"You have to have belief in that, and I got a lot of close support around the world.



"The common message was 'stick to what you believe and you are good enough'."



Did it feel like his last chance at the Oval, then?



"Maybe a little bit," is his honest answer.



"You obviously like to be contributing to the team as much as possible - and I haven't been contributing as much as I would have liked to.



"For me, it almost felt like it was meant to be really.



"I had a fair bit of luck on the way. For the whole series, I have actually felt like I am batting quite well - but it hasn't seemed to go right.



"This time it did, for whatever reason; it's in the lap of the gods really."



For Hussey and the remainder of Ricky Ponting's squad - the captain has returned Down Under for a few days until the closing stages of the NatWest Series - preparation must now turn to 50 and 20-over cricket.



The left-hander's studied approach has often made him appear especially well-suited to five-day cricket - but he is not about to start restricting his repertoire.



"I still want to play every form of the game," he said.



"It took me 10 years to play one game. I don't want to start saying goodbye to any part of the game."



Australia, meanwhile, need to react to this summer's setbacks in England, having also gone out of the ICC World Twenty20 at an early stage.



"I guess we have to bounce back pretty quickly," Hussey continued. "We have the one-day series to concentrate on now.



"I don't think we need to take a deep breath just now.



"This has been the climax of the summer. But we have to quickly get over it. It is probably a good thing that we can get stuck straight back into cricket."



Australia must also come to terms with the fact their Ashes defeat has seen them fall off their perch at the top of the International Cricket Council's world Test rankings, for the first time since their inception, all the way down to fourth.



Hussey interprets that mid-table position as harsh but admits there is much work to do - from a young team capable of high achievement.



"I think this team have a lot of improvement in them," he said.



"I think, in the cold light of day, we are probably not the best team in the world - and we have to be honest about that.



"But we are a pretty young team and we have lost a lot of great players.



"It has been a really great series and we will learn a lot from it. I think we have the making of another great Australian team."



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