The last time Australia toured Sri Lanka, they won the three-match Test series 1-0. Michael Hussey, who has retired from International cricket about three years ago, was their star man on that tour. The left-handed batsman scored 463 runs at an astonishing average of over 92 to take the man of the series award. The series victory was Australia’s only second victory in the subcontinent in 10 years. The other one came in 2006 against the minnows Bangladesh.
The team from down under have once again arrived in Sri Lanka. And this time, they have arrived well before the start of the Test series are they are desperate to perform well in sub-continental conditions as they don’t have a good record in recent past. Aussies have lost 10 of the 14 Test matches they’ve played in Asia since 2006 but it will be a good opportunity to win against an inexperienced Sri Lankan unit.
Talking to foxsports.com.au, Hussey has given his useful insights on what is required to make the series a successful one.
“Like any Test match cricket around the world or even in Australia, you’ve got to be prepared to play, good, hard, uncompromising cricket for long periods of time to win on the subcontinent” Hussey said.
“It’s hot, it’s slow, they’re (the pitches) turning, so you’ve got to be prepared to guts it out and get stuck in for long periods of time. I feel like that (2011) team, we were prepared to do that.”
When quizzed whether the current crop of players are prepared to replicate the last series’ success, Hussey said: “Most definitely, without a doubt. There’s a lot of class in that Australian team and they’re very proud Australians; proud to be playing Test match cricket and wearing that baggy green cap.
“I think as a batsman at that level you’ve got to be able to change between the different formats of the game and the guys are experienced enough to do that … I’m expecting them to make the adjustment to Test match cricket in the subcontinent very, very quickly.”
Only three of Australia’s 15-man squad have the experience of playing Test cricket in Sri Lanka while eight of its players have never played a Test match on the subcontinent.
When asked about that Hussey said that helping each other will be the key.
“It’s going to be a challenge for a lot of the guys and that’s why it’s important they talk to each other and really help each other out as much as possible,” he said.
“If you’re left to try and work your way through it yourself, it can be extremely challenging. If you work together as a team, help each other out, ask questions of each other and really work your way through it together, then the team can have a lot of success.”
He advised the players to make their own plans to counter the conditions in Sri Lanka. He said that the batsmen need to make minor adjustments to their techniques to become successful on the Sri Lankan pitches.
“The best way to do it is to get into those conditions as quickly as possible, get batting on those pitches, and try to devise plans in your own mind about how you are going to score and how you are going to survive and thrive,” Hussey said.
“Each batsman’s going to be slightly different. There’s no one way to do it. It’s up to each individual to do their preparation as well as they possibly can in those conditions, and develop their own plans of how they’re going to succeed.”
“I don’t think players will have to change their natural games too much, but there will be some natural adjustments,” Hussey said.
“The first time you’re there, it’s just about understanding that you’re going to have to score runs differently than you’re used to. You’re probably going to have to work a lot harder for your runs.
“In Australia you can go quite hard at the ball as a batsman, you’re not going to have as much success (doing that) on the subcontinent.
“In Australia you’re used to driving the ball through the covers and down the ground, and playing pull shots and cut shots and things like that.
“Whereas in Sri Lanka, the pitches are a lot slower, so you’ll have to wait for the ball and use your wrists a bit more and work the ball a bit squarer.”