Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin hit centuries as Australia took a 202-run lead over England on day three of the series-opening Ashes cricket Test in Brisbane.
Hussey struck a Test-best 195, while Haddin scored 136 in a record 307-run game-changing partnership that lifted Australia to 481 in reply to England’s first-innings 260. The touring team was 19-0 in its second innings at stumps.
The stand put the Australians in control of the first match of the best-of-five contest as they seek to regain the Ashes following last year’s 2-1 series loss in the U.K. They’d averaged 435 in the first innings in the past 20 Tests at the Gabba, a platform that set up 16 victories and four draws.
“We’ve got to try and finish the job,” Hussey told reporters. “We’ve got to be very patient and disciplined for long periods of time and if we are and hold our chances we’ll have a great chance. We know it’s going to be hard work.”
Australia, which last lost a Test at the Brisbane venue in 1988, resumed on its overnight score of 220-5 and didn’t lose a wicket until after the tea interval.
Hussey and Haddin survived the second new ball before going on to establish the highest partnership for any wicket in a Gabba Test, beating the 276 by Don Bradman and Lindsay Hassett against England in 1946-47.
Left-hander Hussey won an appeal on 82 when he was given out leg-before-wicket, with the video replay showing James Anderson’s delivery pitched outside leg stump. Hussey then survived lbw appeals from Anderson in consecutive deliveries when on 85, with the second ball hitting both pads in front of the stumps. England couldn’t refer the not out decision for video review because its challenges had expired.
“They bowled really well and we probably had a little bit of luck as well,” Hussey told Channel Nine. “So to get through that and to get our team in a great position gives us a lot of satisfaction.”
Hussey justified his retention in Australia’s batting lineup by scoring his 12th Test century and first since reaching triple-figures in January against Pakistan. He went past his previous best score of 182 with a pull shot for four off Finn, which also brought up the 300-run partnership.
England spinner Graeme Swann finally broke the stand by removing Haddin, who was dropped on 63 and 113, in the sixth over after tea. Swann pushed the ball across Haddin from around the wicket and a thick edge flew low to Paul Collingwood, who took a one-handed catch at slip.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, who had joined Hussey at the crease yesterday with Australia at 143-5, hit 16 fours and a six in his 287-ball innings. He reached his third Test hundred by driving a Swann delivery straight into the stands.
“It was one of those things, I just had a clear head and went for it,” Haddin said of reaching his century with a six.
Hussey moved within five runs of his double century before getting out to a pull shot off Finn’s bowling. His 330-ball effort, which featured 26 fours and a six, made it back-to-back Ashes centuries following his 121 at The Oval in London 15 months ago.
Finn then removed Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Xavier Doherty to wrap up the innings and complete figures of 6-125, his third five-wicket haul in Tests.
England openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook guided their team to the close without loss. Strauss, who failed to score in the first innings, will resume on 11 with Cook on 6.
“Australia are on top at the moment but the nature of the way we’ve played our cricket over the last 18 months will stand us in good stead,” Finn told reporters. “That dogfight will come out. We’re gonna dig our heels and take it hour by hour.”
England’s last Ashes series victory on Australian soil was in 1986-87. Australia has only lost two home series since that defeat to Mike Gatting’s England team.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Brisbane through the Sydney newsroom at 8601 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at email@example.com