Aussies keen to grab early advantage, says Hussey

Published: Tuesday, November 4, 2008, 16:28 [IST]
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Australia will be determined to seize an early initiative in the must-win fourth and final Test against India starting here on Thursday, senior batsman Michael Hussey has said.

Ricky Ponting's Australians trail 1-0 in the series following their massive 320-run defeat in the second Test in Mohali. The matches in Bangalore and Delhi were drawn.

Australia have not lost a Test series since the 2005 Ashes in England, but in-form Hussey said his team would try hard to gain the advantage in the opening session of the match.

"It (the first session) will be the most important," Hussey told reporters here on Tuesday.

"If we can start well and get ourselves into a position of strength, then we will have a good chance to try and press for a victory. But I think it gets dangerous if you start thinking about the result."

"I don't like to think about the result or get too far ahead of myself. I just like to try and concentrate on hopefully winning that first session."

Hussey did not believe that Australia had shed much of their attacking flair in the ongoing series, saying the team played according to the situation.

"I wouldn't agree we were defensive. If the situation presents itself, we'll be very attacking. We need to win the last Test and have to make sure we get ourselves into a position from where we can attack," he said.

"In the first Test in Bangalore, I thought we were quite attacking. It did take us a while to score runs, but the pitch was probably the main cause of that. We actually tried to win that game as hard as any Test."

"Coming into the second and third Tests when the opposition posted big first-innings totals, it was very hard then to dictate the rest of the game. That's probably why we appeared to be a bit more defensive."

Hussey said the team would go into the match in a confident frame of mind, especially after their solid batting performance in the tall-scoring last Test in Delhi.

"I thought it was an outstanding (batting) effort by the whole team. Even if it is a flat pitch, when the opposition makes 600 and to get so close takes a lot of perseverance and application," said Hussey.

"Ricky was very proud of all the guys to be able to put in such a good batting performance. I think we can definitely take confidence from that leading into the last Test."

Australia posted 577 in reply to India's mammoth first-innings total of 613-7 declared, with Michael Clarke scoring a hundred. Openers Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich, Ponting and Hussey all made half-centuries.

Australia clinched a four-Test series on their last tour of India in 2004, their first success in 35 years. The decisive win came in Nagpur on a seamer-friendly track, but Thursday's match will be played at a new venue.

"We will obviously try and visit the ground before the game and hopefully we will be able to adapt as quickly as possible," said Hussey, his team's top scorer with 285 runs with one hundred and two half-centuries.

"It has been one of the strengths of the Australian team whatever the conditions are -- to adapt as quickly as possible."

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