David Hussey has dolled out a first-class cricket lesson, hitting a classy century to put Victoria in a good position at the end of day two of their Sheffield Shield clash with NSW.
Hussey finished 107 not out at the MCG on Saturday as the Bushrangers reached 3-265 in response to NSW’s first-innings total of 366.
The 37-year-old attacked debutant spinners Will Somerville and Patrick Jackson, but showed more deference when facing the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Gurinder Sandhu.
Hussey brought up his 18th Shield ton in style, effortlessly crashing offspinner Jackson for a six over the long-on fence.
There was scarcely a false stroke in the three hours preceding.
Captain Matthew Wade (58 not out) was a fine foil in an unbeaten stand of 135 runs, the most productive partnership of the game.
The knock was fitting reward for a hard-hitting batsman who could easily have followed the Twenty20 gun-for-hire path beaten by former teammates Brad Hodge and Dirk Nannes.
“I really enjoy playing first-class cricket,” said Hussey, who played over 100 limited-overs matches for Australia.
“I’ve always said I’ll never stand in the road of someone who is going to play for Australia.
“In this group we’ve got probably four or five young batters who possibly can be the backbone of the Australian cricket team for the next 10 or 15 years.
“I’m just happy playing, scoring a few runs and trying to teach our younger kids how to bat for longer periods of time.”
The innings came two weeks after Hussey’s dad Ted died.
“The last couple of weeks weren’t easy,” he said.
“But it’s probably my utopia, batting. It’s pretty easy to just focus on the ball and not worry about external stuff.”
NSW captain Peter Nevill top-scored against his former side with 87, being one of four Blues batsmen that failed to convert a half-century into a ton.
Rob Quiney (43) and Marcus Stoinis (37) both made starts for the hosts, but failed to go on with it.
“I was lucky enough to get a good partnership with Matt Wade, who probably proves he’s one of the best batters in the country – let alone batter-keepers,” Hussey said.
Wade, recalled by Australia for the upcoming one-day series, and fellow wicketkeeper Nevill both performed well under the gaze of national selector Mark Waugh.
Nevill shared a final-wicket stand with Hazlewood worth 89 runs as the visitors added 100 to their overnight total, then pouched a sensational diving catch to remove Quiney.