Mike Hussey
Mike Hussey

Mike Hussey became the fourth Australian batsman to notch a half-century in the first Test as the home side continued to build towards an ominous first innings total against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Saturday morning.

Hussey brought up his 30th half-ton two balls after the drinks break in a session shortened by rain in the Tasmanian capital, safely navigating his way to lunch on 66 not out and guiding Australia to 5-364 at the break.

Having lost overnight partner Michael Clarke (74) in the third over of the day, Hussey was joined by Matthew Wade (31 not out) and the pair set about pushing singles around the wicket as they settled into their work.

Despite the morning showers, by the time play had commenced at 11.20am, Blundstone Arena was bathed in sunshine and from the outset it appeared that the dynamic duo of Clarke and Hussey were intent on quickly adding to their latest century partnership.

Clarke started most aggressively, going hard at anything wide in a clear signal of intent, but was out before really settling when Shaminda Eranga (1-60) had him nicking to the safe hands of Kumar Sangakkara at first slip.

Eranga had been clearly the sharpest of the Sri Lankan seamers on the first day and appeared to extract extra bounce from a pitch that may have been refreshed by overnight rain and morning drizzle on Hobart's Eastern Shore.

The captain's dismissal brought Clarence junior Wade to the crease, the local product hit on the gloves by a rising delivery from Eranga in another sign that Friday's passive surface may have taken on a new look on day two.

Hussey and Wade batted cautiously throughout the first hour, partly to overcome the early loss of the skipper, but also due to the continued accuracy of Sri Lanka's pace attack.

The pair looked to rotate the strike with singles wherever possible, but were stymied somewhat by a disciplined off-stump line and fieldsman at deep point that ensured boundaries were hard to come by.

But when Chanaka Welegedara (3-126) was reintroduced at the conclusion of Eranga's impressive opening spell at the Church Street end, both batsmen were able to lift their rate, Hussey particularly savage on anything short with a couple of viciously pulled boundaries.

Dangerous spinner Rangana Herath (0-58) was unable to extract much grip from the Blundstone Arena surface, but did have Wade searching for a couple of floated offerings in his first over, one defensive prod edged just wide of the fieldsman at short-leg.

Wade also received a lucky break when substitute fielder Suraj Randiv was unable to grasp a brutishly struck pull shot that burst through his hands and went on to thump into the midwicket boundary from an increasingly expensive Welegedara.


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