Reports of the impending demise of Mike Hussey's Test career proved a little premature on Friday when he hit 81 not out to keep Australia in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Despite a Test average of 49.75, Hussey was one of the thirty something middle order batsmen perceived to be under threat from Callum Ferguson and Usman Khawaja when the young guns were named in the original 17-man squad to face England in the first Test.
The 35-year-old, nicknamed "Mr Cricket", responded with a century in a Sheffield Shield match for Western Australia last week and on Friday took the fight to England when his country were on the rack.
"In the lead up there was plenty of speculation but I just tried to block it out as much as I possibly could and prepare as well I could to play for WA," he said.
"Until you are named in that final eleven players, you are bit nervous. I thought I was playing well enough to be in the team.
"Getting a hundred down in Melbourne last week gave me a boost of confidence I needed to prove to myself again that I could get a big score with the redball."
Husseysaid blocking out distractions had helped him recover from a spell of poor form.
"It'sprobably just a time where my mind is a bit clearer and I'm seeing the ball clearer out of the bowler's hand," Hussey said.
"Iguess just probably through experience knowing you have done it before and believing you can do it again."
Afteralmost giving England a catching chance on the first ball he faced, Hussey took on English spinner Graeme Swann with a flurry of boundaries, including a towering six, that set the tone for his innings.
"Iwanted to be positive, I can get into problems if I get a bit tentative or a bit negative," he said.
"Ithink Graeme is an outstanding bowler when he's allowed to bowl. I guess my plan was to be a bit positive, try and use my feet and at least get him thinking about something different."
Hussey estimated that 220 was only about half of a good first innings for Australia, and there is plenty more work to do on Saturday morning when England, who made 260,are expected to take the new ball.
"Thefirst hour or two are going to be interesting and could prove to be the pivotal time in the game," he said.
"Weare going to be right up for the challenge."