Oz batting collapse shows team still searching for ‘Rock’ Hussey’s replacement

Monday, February 14, 2011

MELBOURNE - Australia must find a middle-order batsman to replace Michael Hussey, with the impact of his absence more than evident during the Australian team’s dramatic batting collapse in their practice match against India.

Australia appeared to be cruising towards a comfortable victory in Bangalore before they lost an incredible 9-58 to slide to a 38-run loss.

The middle-order collapse came after Shane Watson (33), Tim Paine (37) and Ricky Ponting (57) had steered Australia to 1-118 off 22 overs chasing India’s modest total of 214.

Ponting’s return to form and the performance of Australia’s bowlers was encouraging, but the speed of the collapse was a worrying sign as Australia’s first match of the tournament approaches, FOX Sports reports.

Most concerning of all was the absence of a ‘rock’ in the middle order, a role that Hussey has made his own for more than five years.fter Hussey was ruled out of the tournament due to a hamstring injury, the search for Mr Reliable in Australia’s middle-order is on in right earnest.

Speaking before the match in Bangalore, Allan Border was in no doubt that the absence of Hussey was a huge blow to Australia’s chances of winning the World Cup.

“It would have been great to have Huss there, I’ve got to say that. (Hussey’s replacement) Callum Ferguson’s done a wonderful job when he’s been given a chance for Australia.

“There’s no doubt that we lose something not having Hussey there. He’s one of our great one-day players, a great finisher of an innings. He’s got us out of a lot of jams. But fingers crossed someone else can step up to the plate in that role,” Border said. (ANI)

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