Torment for England as lucky Hussey sets up victory

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The Independent Online

Michael Hussey controversially scrambled Australia to victory over England at the Gabba.

Hussey quelled a valiant England defence of 155 as the hosts triumphed by four wickets in the latest match of the Commonwealth Bank Series.

However, left-hander Hussey, rated as the world's number one limited-overs batsman, appeared to edge behind off the impressive James Anderson with Australia 103 for five.

England's players were left flabbergasted when home umpire Daryl Harper failed to give out Hussey, who had scored 19 of his unbeaten 46 at the time.

Words were exchanged in the middle as Hussey felt the full force of England's displeasure.

Although Anderson trapped Cameron White leg-before later in the over, the 30th of the innings, it was not the prize wicket they wished for.

To add to the frustration Hussey top-edged a six off Andrew Flintoff shortly afterwards and, accompanied by Brett Lee, Hussey finished things in the face of some outstanding English bowling.

Jon Lewis, who finished with four for 36, claimed three wickets in his initial burst and new-ball partner Anderson was even better than his two for 29 suggested.

Backed up by Flintoff' fire - the Lancashire all-rounder's limp was thankfully due to the fact he lost his big left toenail this week rather than any recurrence of ankle trouble - England's attack appear to have developed a cutting edge.

The Australians, led by Adam Gilchrist in the absence of resting captain Ricky Ponting, appeared to be on course for a comfortable chase but Gilchrist holed out to long leg in the seventh over - Anderson taking a good running catch - and that proved the first of four dismissals in half-a-dozen overs.

Anderson was rewarded when he turned former Lancashire colleague Brad Hodge around for Jamie Dalrymple to grasp the leading edge at point.

An action-replay dismissal of Gilchrist's then accounted for Matthew Hayden while Andrew Symonds attempted to repeat a thrash which had brought him four runs through the covers only to toe-end a catch to wicketkeeper Paul Nixon.

That left Michael Clarke and Hussey to rebuild things from a position of 48 for four in the 13th over.

They shared a stand of 45 before Lewis returned to prise out Clarke via a leg-side catch from Nixon - and then came the moment of contention.

Earlier, an horrendous collapse of five wickets in seven overs ripped the heart out of the batting after debutant Mal Loye and Andrew Strauss shared a half-century stand.

Having recorded a maiden tour victory earlier this week, England went into the match with increased belief but a spell of three wickets in eight balls proved terminal to their innings.

Veteran Glenn McGrath, returning from a groin injury, claimed his second wicket when the hapless Ed Joyce inside-edged one which nipped back.

But it was the fourth dismissal of the innings, from the next ball, sent down by Mitchell Johnson which summed up the gulf in quality between England and Australia this winter.

Ian Bell guided to backward point and, plagued by indecision, stuttered in mid-pitch long enough for Cameron White to stop the ball at full-stretch to his left and backhand a flicked throw with his right which rolled into the stumps.

When Paul Collingwood, central to the run-out confusion, nicked his first ball from McGrath, England had lost half their side for 19 runs in a seven-over spell.

Although veteran Nixon hung around for half-a-dozen overs, Lee's return from the Stanley Street end produced another slip catch for Hayden.

After surviving a worthy leg-before shout earlier in the 31st over, Flintoff aimed two hefty blows at Brett Lee, the first landing on the rope for four but the second well held in the deep by Hodge.

Jamie Dalrymple attempted to eke out runs alongside the tail but when he was last out, caught at long-on, there were still 48 deliveries unused.

It was a Hayden catch which halted an entertaining debut from Mal Loye, Michael Vaughan's replacement at the top of the order.

Loye, who struck a run-a-ball 36, announced himself with an extraordinary slog-sweep for six off Lee and dominated a 52-run stand with Strauss.

The Gabba crowd were warming to Loye's unorthodox approach but he succumbed when Nathan Bracken, who snared a couple of late wickets to finish with three for 24, enticed him into a nibble outside off-stump.

Australia built on their breakthrough when a mishit pull from Strauss was brilliantly caught by Hodge, diving to his left at mid-wicket to take a one-handed catch, the first of three wickets for the returning McGrath.

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