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“You should never ever write off a champion” - Mike Hussey reacts to Steve Smith’s 131

Steve Smith celebrates his hundred at the SCG. Pic: ICC/ Twitter
Steve Smith celebrates his hundred at the SCG. Pic: ICC/ Twitter
ANALYST
Modified 08 Jan 2021, 15:08 IST
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Former Australian batsman Mike Hussey has said that he was least surprised after Steve Smith came up with a brilliant century in Sydney on Day 2 of the SCG Test against India.

Riding on Steve Smith's belligerent 131, Australia put up 338 runs on the board, with India responding with 96/2 by stumps.

Describing Steve Smith as a ‘champion player’, Hussey told foxsports.com.au:

“He looked absolutely pumped when he scored the hundred. You just can’t keep a great player down for long. It just goes to show you should never ever write off a champion. I guess I what I’d say: 'He’s a champion; he’s been a champion for a long period of time, and he played beautifully.'”

Hussey added that Steve Smith was positive right from the moment he stepped out to the middle, and that made a difference. The former player further elaborated in this regard:

“I thought he played really positive when he first came out, showed a bit more intent against (Ravichandran) Ashwin, the way he was a bit more proactive with his footwork there. It was a great innings.”

While Steve Smith was the star of the day with his 131, Marnus Labuschagne fell agonisingly short of three figures. He was dismissed for 91, caught at first slip off Ravindra Jadeja.

Hussey believes that both Labuschagne and Steve Smith have hit form in the nick of time, with the fourth Test coming up at the Gabba in Brisbane, where Australia have been unbeaten since 1988.

“The longer you face the bowling group of the opposition, you sort of get used to their cues and what they’re trying to do to get you out and things like that. I think both really enjoy batting at the Gabba as well ... so they’ll be pretty keen to finish off strong,” Michael Hussey said.
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While Steve Smith has an average of 64.33 at the Gabba, Labuschagne has scores of 81 and 185 in the two Test innings he has played there.

Michael Hussey disappointed with Australia’s collapse around Steve Smith’s 131

Despite Steve Smith’s century and Labuschagne’s 91, Australia only managed 338 in their first innings when they looked good for more.

Australia were 232 for 3 at one stage but collapsed following a terrible shot from Matthew Wade, with the left-hander trying to hit out against Ashwin. Hussey said that Australia should be disappointed with the final score. He said:

“I think they’ll be a little bit disappointed to be honest, especially after being 2-166 overnight and being in a good position to losing 8-132. The plan today would have been to come in and try to bat the whole day, or perhaps declare and have a go at India tonight. Nearly 340 gets them in the game, but it depends how well they bowl in their first innings.”

India ended Day 2 at the SCG on 96 for 2. Shubman Gill scored his maiden Test half-century before getting dismissed for 50, while Rohit Sharma scored 26 off 77 on his return to Test cricket.

Published 08 Jan 2021, 15:08 IST
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