Michael Hussey, one of the finest finishers in cricket, deservedly ended his international career by guiding Australia not just to a five-wicket victory but a series clean sweep over touring side, Sri Lanka.
Match Report (Day 4): AUS vs SL January 6, 2012; Sydney, Australia
Left-hander Hussey, playing his 79th and final Test after announcing his international retirement, steered a jittery Australian side over the line after early loss of five-wickets.
The 37 year old provided a steadying hand as he made his way through running down of 141 runs to seal his Test career with 48th win for himself. He finished unbeaten on 27, ended his career with 6235 runs at an average of 51.52. He walked off to lead in the team song one last time before handing over the job to his successor Nathan Lyon.
Despite Hussey’s emotional final, the Sydney win was not all about him. Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes and Michael Clarke all played important parts in directing Australia to series clean sweep.
Earlier in the day, the touring side were all out for 278 in their second innings. Dinesh Chandimal prolonged the struggle, batting with tail in a resisting unbeaten knock of 62 off 106 with 11 fours. He shared his defiant 41 last wicket stand with Nuwan Pradeep in a final attempt to make things uncomfortable for Australia.
Rangana Herath could only add 10 before getting bowled out by Jackson Bird. Suranga Lakma swung wildly and was cleaned up Johnson for a duck.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, got a hopeful start as when Mahela Jayawardena caught threatening David Warner on the slips off Lakmal’s first delivery for a duck.
Cowan steered control by gradually eking out runs. A 45 run stand with Hughes followed by 59 run effort with Clarke. Hughes played impressive shots before getting out leg before wicket on review to Herath fro 34 from 49 balls.
Skipper Clarke, a little more fluent in his strokes, used his feet and crease well against the sly Sri Lanka spinners.
Herath and Tilkaratne Dilshan restricted Australia, Dilshan got the fighting skipper’s prized wicket when he was caught off bat and pad for 29. Cowan was given lbw to Herath when the hosts were 33 away from victory.
Matthew Wade, first innings centurion, gave way to set Michael Hussey up for one last win when he was bowled by Herath for 9 runs.
The rest as they say, is history.
Score: Australia 9 for 432 dec and 5 for 141 (Cowan 36, Herath 3-45) beat Sri Lanka 294 and 278 (Karunaratne 85, Chandimal 62*, Jayawardene 60, Johnson 3-34, Bird 3-76) by 5 wickets
Player of the match: Jackson Bird
Player of the series: Michael Clarke