MELBOURNE _ Australia coach Mickey Arthur spoke enthusiastically a week ago about how he loves having an allrounder in his side for a Test match.
Nanjing Night Net

With Shane Watson out injured, Australia had picked a squad of 13 that included uncapped allrounder Dan Christian.

And he’s still uncapped.

Christian didn’t make the side and Australia’s gamble to go into the Boxing Day Test on a flat MCG pitch with only four frontline bowlers was exposed as early as day two in the game.

The game’s greatest run scorer Sachin Tendulkar came to the crease in the second-last over before tea yesterday and who did Australia skipper Michael Clarke turn to for the last over before the break?

Part-timer Michael Hussey with his slow-medium offerings.

It was not a moment where Tendulkar appeared to be under any great pressure.

Hussey took 0-15 from his five overs and was also used early in the final session.

Sure, the veteran picked up two cheap wickets in this month’s two-Test series against New Zealand, but the going is a little tougher against the No.2-ranked side in the world.

“Michael thought it was the best option to get a wicket, take the pace off the ball and see if they could make the pace a bit,” Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin said of Clarke’s ploy.

Hussey made a first-ball duck on Monday, admittedly after appearing to miss the ball and being given out caught behind.

Yesterday the 36-year-old dropped a difficult catch at gully.

Hussey is fighting for his place in the side, as could be seen by his verbal outbursts as he walked off the field following his first-innings dismissal.

Next week’s Sydney Test will also be a tough one for the bowlers and Australia’s selectors will seriously think about including Christian as a fifth bowling option, with doubts lingering over Watson’s fitness for the second Test.

Arthur’s comments from a week ago will be ringing in Hussey’s ears.

“Our preference for balance of the team is always to try to have an allrounder,” Arthur said.

“Dan Christian has done superbly well for South Australia.”

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