Mike Hussey bowed out of Test cricket with a win when he guided Australia to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka yesterday, giving the home side a clean sweep of the three-match series.
Hussey, playing in his 79th and final Test after announcing his international retirement, got his team over the line after the loss of five wickets on a tense fourth day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The 37-year-old provided the steadying hand as Australia made hard work of chasing 141 for victory on a turning pitch.
At the close Hussey was unbeaten on 27, while Mitchell Johnson hit the winning run to end on 1 not out.
“I was telling Mitch [Johnson] the over before, if it comes up that you hit it then I’m more than happy to let us get this over and done with,” Hussey said.
“I was more than happy to be out there when the winning run was hit. A dream come true. The important thing was making sure we won the Test match,” he said.
Rangana Herath had earlier threatened to bowl the Sri Lankans to their first-ever Test victory in Australia. He finished with 3-47.
Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene had his best match of the series with scores of 72 and 60, but rued his side’s failure to put the Australians under pressure.
“We had game plans, we did take wickets throughout the series, but we leaked runs while we did it. That’s where we failed to put them under pressure,” he said.
The tourists were all out for 278 in their second innings earlier in the day as Dinesh Chandimal batted with the tail in a defiant unbeaten knock of 62 off 106 balls with 11 fours.
Chandimal shared in a fighting 41-run last-wicket stand with Nuwan Pradeep to give the tourists some vital extra runs and make things uncomfortable for the Australian batsmen on a turning pitch.
Herath was bowled by Bird for 10 and Suranga Lakmal swung wildly and was cleaned up by Johnson for a duck.
Johnson finished with 3-34 and Jackson Bird captured 3-76.
Sri Lanka got an early reward when the threatening David Warner was out first ball, caught in the slips by Jayawardene off paceman Lakmal for a duck, with the Australians going to lunch on 13-1.
Phil Hughes hit four boundaries, but never looked set, and was next out leg before wicket on review to Herath for 34.
Clarke used his feet and crease well against the Sri Lankan spinners as Australia’s score crept along.
Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan tied down the batsmen, although a big LBW shout from Herath was turned down on review when Clarke was on 13.
Dilshan got the skipper’s prized wicket when he was caught off bat and pad for 29, bringing Hussey to the wicket.
Ed Cowan was out in the next over, LBW to Herath for 36 with 33 needed for victory.
Matthew Wade was bowled by Herath for 9, setting up a fairytale finish for Hussey to be there when the winning run was hit.