Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Hussey backs chosen squad

Middle-order batsman Mike Hussey has given his thumbs-up to Australia's decision to stick with a winning formula and name an identical 13-player squad for this Friday's second 3 mobile Ashes Test in Adelaide.
Hussey, whose 86 runs in the first innings helped maintain a stunning average of 76.56 in 12 matches, was just one of a number of key contributors with the bat alongside Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer and Michael Clarke. The Ashes debutant also shared a 209-run stand with his captain Ponting in the first innings and suggested that the overall team display at the Gabba warranted the chance of a repeat performance this week. "It's pretty difficult to change a team that's performed so well in this Test match," said Hussey after Australia wrapped up a mammoth 277-run victory in Brisbane on Monday. "It's not for me to really comment on selection but I think it's very difficult for the selectors to pick the team they want. There are a lot of good candidates out there but when the guys are performing it's hard to look past those guys." Rookie Test pacemen Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson were again named in the expanded squad although neither is expected to usurp the impressive Stuart Clark, who returned the match figures of 7-93, or Brett Lee. Hussey, meanwhile, said that Glenn McGrath was again applying ice treatment to his left heel overnight but was not considered a doubt for Adelaide. "I think it's great for those two guys to again be in the squad, just to show them how close they are," he said of young guns Tait and Johnson. "Maybe it comes down to horses for courses a little bit (for Adelaide)." "I know Shaun will be very keen to play in Adelaide in front of his home crowd. That would be a huge boost for him but again it's going to be a tough selection." He also offered his commiserations to hamstring injury victim Shane Watson, saying that Watson's ability to share the bowling workload gave Australia's line-up an added dimension. Stand-in skipper Adam Gilchrist briefly turned to Hussey's medium pacers on day four in Brisbane. "I think it's really disappointing for the team that Shane Watson hasn't come up," he said. "Having somebody like him in the team really does give us good balance so hopefully he can get fit and be ready for the third Test." Hussey also considered the quick turnaround to Adelaide - the Australians arrive in South Australia on Tuesday afternoon - would be of more benefit to the home side following England's exertions in its first Test drubbing. "One of the positives for us is we weren't in the field in Brisbane for as long as the English were," he said. "I think they fielded for the best part of two-and-a-half days which has got to take its toll." "With the short turnaround maybe that's going to be a positive for us."


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