Article

Impressive knock boosts Hughes´ confidence

14 December 2012 10:04

It did not end quite as he would have hoped, but Phil Hughes' return to Test cricket in Hobart on Friday was still a huge success.

The 24-year-old emerged from 12 months in first-class cricket as Australia's new No.3 and slotted into a new-look top order with a poised 86-run knock that went a long way to restoring his self-confidence at the highest level.

"I was just pleased to get out there and back in the colours again (with) a smile on my face," he said.

"It was nice to get a few, it would have been nice to get the three figures and a few more, but that's cricket, that's how it goes and I suppose to get 80-odd is a good thing for my confidence going forward now."

Hughes looked relatively untroubled throughout his innings, scoring freely early in his knock before knuckling down during a sustained period of tight bowling from the Sri Lankans either side of the lunch break.

"It was an innings that started off quite good, but then they bowled well, then back to me and back to them," he said.

"That was just the flow of the day today where they bowled an outstanding hour, then it went back to the batting side. But overall at 4-299 the ball is in our court and I thought we were outstanding today."

Hughes was bowled by Chanaka Welegedara in the second over after tea, just as he was within sight of what would have been a fairytale century at the venue where he played his previous Test against New Zealand a year ago.

His 166-ball innings included eight fours and one six and paved the way for the outstanding Michael Clarke (70 not out) and Michael Hussey (37 not out) to add an unbeaten century partnership during the final session.

Welegedara was the only Sri Lankan to take a wicket on a challenging day for the tourists, his 3-99 coming at almost five runs an over on a pitch that didn't offer as much to seam bowlers as had been expected.

"In the morning we didn't have anything from the wicket (but) after lunch we had good advantage from the wicket," Welegedara said.

Welegedara also acknowledged the role his captain Mahela Jayawardene played in his second scalp, that of Shane Watson.

The veteran Sri Lanka skipper took a one-handed screamer at second slip that the 31-year-old left-arm quick said was the best he'd seen.

"I think I can't say anything about the catch because it's a very good catch (and) I'm very happy about it," he said.

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