HOBART – Phil Hughes marked his return to the Australia side in impressive fashion in the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart.
Hughes, playing his first Test in just over a year, was handed the first chance to fill the void left by Ricky Ponting in the Australia team. And he took full advantage to score 86, helping the hosts reach 299 for 4 by the close on the opening day.
Opener David Warner also weighed in with a half-century, while Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey were building a useful partnership for the fifth wicket.
Sri Lanka, having been put into the field first, had got off to an impressive start with Chanaka Welegedara removing Ed Cowan for four.
Warner and Hughes wrestled control back away from the tourists, though, with the duo putting on 79 for the second wicket. However, the partnership was brought to a premature end when Warner was run out going for a quick single.
Shane Watson added a useful 30 before he was caught by outgoing Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene off Welegedara.
Hughes was playing beautifully as he passed 50 for only the seventh time in his Test career. A century seemed a certainty for the 24-year-old, however, he became Welegedara’s third victim just after tea with an inside edge taking the ball onto his stumps.
From 198-4, Clarke and Hussey patiently rebuilt the innings with an unbeaten stand of 101.
Clarke continued his impressive run of form to reach 70 – his half-century coming off 117 balls – while Hussey added 37. (Sky)