(CNN) -- Michael Hussey frustrated England on the second day of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane with an undefeated 81 before play was brought to a premature close at the Gabba.
Hussey and Brad Haddin (22 not out) had put on 77 for the sixth wicket when bad light and rain caused the umpires to call off play early with England about to take the second new ball.
Replying to England's 260 all out on the first day, Australia reached lunch on 96 for one wicket, but a collapse in the second session saw them in trouble on 143 for five before Hussey and wicketkeeper Haddin came together.
Hussey, under pressure for his place in the team after a poor run of form, nearly departed first ball as he edged Steven Finn just short of Graeme Swann at slip.
He told reporters that he had been fortunate, but he batted pretty much faultlessly as he closed on his century.
"I probably had a bit of luck but managed to survive, you need a bit of luck in this game," he admitted.
"But after that I felt my feet were moving well, I was seeing the ball out of the bowlers' hand, but we still have a lot of work to do."
James Anderson, who made the initial breakthrough to remove Shane Watson just before lunch, and Finn both took two wickets apiece as England hit back.
Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting made only 10, Michael Clarke went for nine and Marcus North for 1, falling to off spinner Swann.
Simon Katich, who shared an opening stand of 78 with Watson, scored exactly 50 until falling victim to the excellent Finn who impressed on his Ashes debut with the ball.
But Hussey took a full toll on England's trump card Swann, often cutting and pulling him to the boundary, as the home side hit back to end the day in a good position, only 40 runs adrift on 220 for five wickets.
Much will rest on the first session of the third day, with play starting half an hour early after the interruption.