Victory makes Hussey's day

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John Hastings & David Hussey

David Hussey celebrates hitting the winning runs in Sydney, proving to team-mates and fans alike that he can "actually play at this level"

David Hussey set his sights on wrapping up the one-day series on Australia Day after playing a key role in the hosts’ win over England in Sydney.

Hussey’s unbeaten 68 eased the nerves caused by a mid-innings wobble and carried Australia to a modest target of 215 with four wickets in hand and four overs to spare at the SCG.

Victory gave them a 3-0 lead and means a repeat in Adelaide on Wednesday - on the country’s national day - will see them open up an unassailable advantage in the seven-match series.

Hussey claimed Australia’s ultimately comfortable triumph today was “reward for the bowlers”, while also paying tribute to a fielding display much improved from the opening ODI in Melbourne.

“Our bowlers really set the game up - 214 on that wicket was well under par,” he said. “The last two games our fielding has been top drawer.

“Our batters got the job done, so we’re pretty happy. I was lucky enough to get a decent platform and use a few balls to get myself in and finish the game.

“It’s not every day you win the game for your country. Hopefully we can clinch the series come Australia Day.”

Brett Lee, named man of the match after claiming 3-27 from eight overs, echoed Hussey’s sentiments in paying tribute to an accomplished all-round display from an Australia side who have bounced back admirably from losing the Ashes.

“Collectively, we’re playing very, very well,” he said. “Everyone chipped in and did their own little bit today.

“We bowled extremely well. In the field we’ve been brilliant. Huss the finisher came in to end it. If you look three games ago, we’ve improved so much in all facets of the game.

Brett Lee

Brett Lee appeals in vain for lbw, but nonetheless took the man of the match award after returning figures of 3-27 from eight overs

“Confidence is such a major thing, but looking back to the first Twenty20 in Adelaide, we lost that by one run off the last. We won the next one. We’re getting momentum.”

For Hussey, his 89-ball innings, which contained six fours and a six, went some way to justifying his place in the side - to team-mates and spectators alike.

He went into the game averaging just 27.54 in 25 ODIs, but played with the sort of composure and sensible strokeplay that persuaded the Australia selectors to name him in the World Cup squad.

“I’ve struggled in the one-day format,” Hussey added. “If your team-mates back you and you fail consistently, you want to get a score under your belt to prove not only to them but to the rest of the public that you can actually play at this level.

“There’s always pressure every time you play. Hopefully (there are) a few shackles off and there are bigger and better things to come.”

Stand-in captain Michael Clarke, a member of the side beaten so convincingly in the Ashes, knows winning the one-day series would serve as some form of consolation.

He said: “It would be great, no doubt - for our fans as well, the people who support us every day.

“We cop a little bit of criticism, rightly so sometimes, and we deserve that, but we know we have a lot of people support us and it’s important we continue to play good cricket.

“The name of the game is to win and we’ve done that three games in a row. The feeling in the dressing is fantastic; the boys are stoked to get over the line again.

“We haven’t been at our best in any game and we have still been able to win. Our goal is to win the next. It’s important to build momentum for the World Cup.”

Australia, meanwhile, confirmed that off-spinner Nathan Hauritz will undergo surgery on the right shoulder he dislocated in Hobart, casting grave doubts over his fitness for the World Cup starting on February 19.

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