Saturday, November 7, 2009

"We hope to seal the series here"

Australian vice captain Michael Hussey said the visitors are determined to pocket the rubber in the sixth ODI in Guwahati.

Australia are leading 3-2 in the ongoing seven-match ODI series against India. Predicting that Sunday's affair will witness a close finish, Hussey said they were backing themselves up with the motivation of sealing the issue instead of leaving it for last game in Mumbai.

"I guess it will be a tight match here again but our motivation now is that we can have the series in our hands tomorrow (Sunday). We are still recovering from the the thrilling win (in Hyderabad) and hope to take the series here," Hussey told reporters on the eve of the match at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

"We are not looking at any long-term goal but win here will give us the series and as a byproduct we can consolidate our position atop the ICC rankings," he said.
With the conditions in Guwahati seemingly mysterious as ODI cricket is returning to the city after two years' lull -- the scheduled India-England match last November was cancelled due to 26/11 Mumbai terror atacks -- Hussey said the Aussies would be happy to lose the toss.

"Maybe it will be a good toss to lose. I have never played here and so don't know much about the conditions. I guess the first 10 overs will be crucial. If we bat first, we have to be cautious and while bowling if we take few wickets early, I guess then we can cash in on the situation," he said.

Hussey also lavished praise on all-rounder Shane Watson, who cracked a superb 89-ball 93 to guide Australia to a mammoth 350 for four in Hyderabad.

"He (Watson) is two players for the price of a one. He is superbly talented, works really hard and a great asset to the side. He lends balance to the side and an important cog in the wheel for us," he said.

He, however, begged to differ when asked whether India lacked depth in their bowling department in the fifth one-dayer.

"I don't think we can blame their (India's) bowlers. It was an excellent batting strip and even our bowlers conceded about 350 runs while India batted."

Hussey himself has been the backbone of Australia's batting department in the series, top-scoring with 278 runs from five outings with three fifties, and he said he was happy with his form.

"I am not worried about my batting form. I think I am middling the ball well," he said.

Incidentally, Australia has been hit hard by injuries during the series with as many as five players -- Brett Lee (elbow), James Hopes (hamstring), Tim Paine (finger), Peter Siddle (muscle stiffness) and Moises Henriques (right hamstring) -- returning home midway through the tour.

To top it, captain Ricky Ponting was already out there without the services of his first choice players in Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Callum Ferguson and Nathan Bracken, who missed the tour due to injuries.

But Hussey feels it came as a blessing in disguise for the World Champions as it provides them the opportunity to test the unheralded players and prepare a strong back up before the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent.

"We suffered a lot of injuries, but it was a good opportunity for the players who were just on the outskirts. They have performed well and it gave us a chance to test our depth.

"With the World Cup less than two years to go, it's good to have as many youngsters ready. It will be a dress rehearshal ahead of the premier event," he said.

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