Australia 299-4 vs Sri Lanka in 1st Test

David Warner

Phil Hughes top-scored on his return to Australia's Test team, hitting 86 as the hosts finished today's opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on 299-4.

Brought back after a year's absence to replace the retired Ricky Ponting at No 3, Hughes was even on course for his first test century on home soil until Chanaka Welegedara bowled him for 86 in the second over after tea.

Captain Michael Clarke then continued his stellar form for 2012 with 70 not out in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 101 with Mike Hussey (37).

Welegedara was the most expensive bowler at Bellerive Oval but also the most dangerous, finishing with 3-99 after removing Ed Cowan in the morning session and Shane Watson after lunch.

Cowan failed to convince and fellow opener David Warner was needlessly run out, but Clarke and Hussey maintained Australia's hopes of a commanding total.

Clarke was limping at the close after a blow to the knee but still moved to 1,428 runs for 2012 with his 22nd career half century.

"He does have a big limp but he'll get a bit of treatment and I'm sure he'll continue on tomorrow," Hughes said.

Clarke dominated more than Hughes but the latter did enough against a largely disciplined but unthreatening Sri Lanka seam attack to suggest his third stint in the side could be longer than the previous two.

"There were a few nerves but really I was quite calm," Hughes said. "Overall, it was more excitement. To get a few runs behind me, the confidence is quite high now."

Hughes has three test centuries but had never previously scored heavily at home.

The 24-year-old former opener came to the crease at 18-1 after Clarke had won the toss, and withstood patient probing of his reworked technique until hitting out midway through the second session.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.