Sydney: Mike Hussey capped his final Test before retirement by steering Australia to 141 for 5 and a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Sunday, completing a 3-0 series sweep. Sri Lanka spinners Rangana Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan made Australia work hard to reach the small victory target, taking regular wickets, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Hussey reached 27 not out and the Sydney Cricket Ground crowd was baying for the 37-year-old batsman to hit the winning runs but 'Mr Cricket', as Hussey is nicknamed for his dedication, was typically undistracted.
With two runs needed, Hussey ran a single and the crowd cheered every block and dot ball from Mitchell Johnson until the paceman could no longer resist temptation and knocked off the winning single, finishing unbeaten on 1.
"What a place to finish," Hussey said. "I couldn't be happier. I didn't want to bat at all. I was hoping we would get the runs with none down."
Sri Lanka still have not won a Test in Australia in 14 attempts and were left to rue their lack of runs in both innings. Only three batsmen scored more than 25 in the first innings and the loss of four middle-order wickets for just 24 runs stunted the second innings.
Dinesh Chandimal's intelligent half-century helped Sri Lanka move from an overnight 225 for 7 to 278 all out in Sunday's morning session and things looked a little tricky for Australia when opener David Warner edged Suranga Lakmal to second slip for a golden duck, contrasting with his first-innings 85.
But the other top-order batsman made handy contributions. Ed Cowan added a composed 88-ball 36, Phil Hughes was trapped lbw by Herath for 34 and captain Michael Clarke, who survived an lbw review on 13, was caught by Lahiru Thirimanne off Dilshan for 29. Herath, who finished with 3 for 47 and 12 wickets for the series, dismissed Cowan to bring Hussey to the crease. Run out by his captain in the first innings and dropped from the one-day squad announced on Sunday morning, Hussey grasped the opportunity to go out on a high.
A smart reverse sweep to the boundary elicited huge cheers from the modest 10,505 crowd on hand to watch Sunday's coup de grace, and, after going into tea just five runs short of victory, Australia needed just 11 balls of the final session to reach their target.