View Comments

As the crowd at the SCG started chanting his name as the victory target dwindled, Mike Hussey considered requesting the ground announcer to ask them to stop.

Hussey was next man in and was becoming increasingly embar- rassed at the overwhelming reaction to his impending retirement.

"I was sitting next to (coach) Mickey Arthur and I was telling him to get on the loudspeaker to ask them all to be quiet," Hussey said.

"I wanted the two out there to do the job so I could relax."

Self-effacing to the very last ball of his remarkable international career, Hussey was eager for Michael Clarke and Ed Cowan to knock off the 141 required to beat Sri Lanka in the third Test. But the crowd would have none of it.

After David Warner fell for a golden duck and Phil Hughes (34) was trapped lbw by canny spinner Rangana Herath, the likelihood of Hussey batting one last time at the SCG became stronger.

But Clarke and Cowan were knocking off the runs with relative ease, raising the anxiety levels in a crowd that had provided animated support for Hussey at the Test.

Although Clarke (29) said the chanting and booing was directed at Cowan, his own demise inspired a massive roar for the appearance of a player whose 79 Tests and 185 one-dayers included more matches in Sydney than any other ground.

But the dramas were not yet over.

Playing with his trademark dexterity and industry, Hussey worked his way towards the target with strokes typical of nearly a decade in the national team: clips through mid-wicket, nudge-and-run singles, the occasional short-arm pull, even an exquisite reverse sweep.

It was remorseless and took Australia to within a few blows of a series clean sweep in a match in which they held Sri Lanka at bay throughout the contest without ever being totally convincing.

Cowan (36) departed at 108, then Matthew Wade (9) at 132.

Mitchell Johnson knew his role. As his WA and Wanneroo teammate erased the deficit in ones and twos, Johnson defended patiently and stood his ground.

His intentions were clear, which made his disappointment more palpable when, with scores level, he squirted Herath into a gap, getting off the mark as Hussey called him through for the winning run.

Johnson's head dropped in des- pair at denying his partner the glory, but Hussey (27 not out) would have nothing of it.

"I didn't want to bat at all," he said. "I was hoping we would get the runs none down.

"But it was very nice to be out there at the end. That is why you play the game - to be there when the winning runs are hit.

"I was thinking this morning what a fantastic place it is to finish.

"It is probably in my top three favourite grounds in the world.

"I will miss these guys over here, but there are lots of other things I will miss too.

"I will miss the feeling of winn- ing a Test match for Australia and singing the team song with the boys in the change room.

"It couldn't have ended any better. I've achieved a lot more in my career than I've dreamed."

The victory was Hussey's 48th as he finished his career with 6235 runs at 51.52.

Hussey will continue to play for WA.

"I was hoping we would get the runs none down. But it was very nice to be out there at the end."" *Mike Hussey *