Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 11, 2013

Hughes sets up huge Australia win


Australia 5 for 305 (Hughes 112, Bailey 89, Hussey 60*) beat Sri Lanka 198 (Chandimal 73, Dilshan 51, McKay 4-33) by 107 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

B-team, hey? An Australian outfit led by George Bailey in his 14th ODI and featuring three debutants did what sides captained by Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson have not managed to do in the past three one-day international encounters against Sri Lanka at the MCG: win. One of those first-gamers, Phillip Hughes, became the first Australian to score a century on ODI debut and Bailey fell just short of a captain's hundred to drive Australia to 5 for 305, before a series of run-outs derailed Sri Lanka's chase.

In the end, the Australians - without Clarke, Watson, David Warner, Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade - cruised to victory by 107 runs. If they can do something similar in the second match in Adelaide on Sunday, it might be hard for the selectors to make too many changes. But whatever happens, what can't be altered is the strong performance Bailey's side put up at the MCG. They had the best of the conditions, forcing Sri Lanka to field on a very hot afternoon, but they also grabbed their opportunities.

Literally. Brad Haddin, recalled for his first international match in nearly a year, took a stunning catch to end the innings of Dinesh Chandimal, and any lingering hope Sri Lanka had of pulling off a heist. On 73, Chandimal got a thick edge to a delivery from Clint McKay and Haddin, 35, hurled himself in the air and to his right with the athleticism of a man ten years his junior, and plucked the ball out of mid-air. It was that sort of night for the Australians, who completed three sharp run-outs.

One of those ended the 94-run stand between Chandimal and Tillakaratne Dilshan, a partnership that might have left Bailey slightly nervous as they gained momentum. But a direct-hit from debutant Khawaja ended Dilshan's innings on 51, before two run-outs from consecutive deliveries - one a direct hit from Glenn Maxwell and the second a combination effort from Maxwell and Haddin - got rid of Angelo Mathews for 12 and Lahiru Thirimanne for a diamond duck.

After that, and Haddin's lightning catch, it was all academic. Mitchell Johnson picked up a couple of wickets and McKay cleaned up the tail to finish with 4 for 33 as the Sri Lankans were dismissed for 198 in the 40th over. Really, it was only the Chandimal-Dilshan stand that gave Sri Lanka any hope, after Mitchell Starc had Upul Tharanga caught behind for 1 in the third over and McKay had Mahela Jayawardene taken by Aaron Finch at slip for 5. It wasn't the kind of start Sri Lanka wanted after conceding so many runs to the Australians.

A late half-century from David Hussey, who was auditioning to become the permanent middle-order replacement for his retiring brother Michael, pushed the Australians past the 300-mark as the final ten overs brought 89 runs. Hussey finished unbeaten on 60 from 34 deliveries and took 21 off the last over, bowled by Ajantha Mendis, including a six over long-off to bring up his half-century. It was a fine finish for the Australians, who had chosen to bat on a very hot afternoon.

The presence of three debutants at the top of Australia's order for the first time in a one-day international since the days of World Series Cricket didn't prove a major problem as Hughes showed why he has been one of the country's best domestic one-day batsmen in the past two years. His 112 from 129 balls made him the eighth man to make a hundred on ODI debut and surpassed Phil Jaques (94) as the leading Australian scorer on debut.

His 140-run third-wicket stand with Bailey was the key for Australia after the other two debutants, Finch and Khawaja, fell within the first 16 overs. Finch was caught behind for 16 when he pushed at a Mendis delivery that appeared to be a back-of-the-hand legbreak, and Khawaja was run out for 3 when he was turned back trying for a quick single to the leg side.

Another near run-out came from the ball that brought Hughes his fifty from 57 deliveries, but he and Bailey survived that and a number of other close calls. Hughes was especially powerful through the off side, cutting and cover-driving when given width, exactly the kind of strokes he typically plays in Test cricket.

He also picked up three boundaries through the leg side and after a slight lull in the 80s and 90s, reached his century from his 123rd delivery with a single clipped wide of midwicket. A searing pair of boundaries through the off side against Lasith Malinga followed in the next over, but then Malinga had the consolation of having Hughes caught behind while backing away and making room, and it ended a fine innings that will make Hughes hard to drop.

At the other end, Bailey had scored at a brisker rate than Hughes and picked the gaps well, working the ball effectively off his pads and driving straight down the ground, including one six lofted over long-on off Jeevan Mendis. Bailey's half-century came from 44 balls and he looked set for his first ODI century until he latched on to a Mathews delivery and sent it straight into the hands of Jeevan Mendis at deep midwicket.

Maxwell followed soon afterwards when he chipped Nuwan Kulasekara to midwicket for 5, but then Hussey and Haddin finished the task well. Hussey struck six fours and one six, while Haddin wound up on 10 from 13 balls. In the end, it was more than enough. Not bad for a so-called B-team.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashan on January 13, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    @Harmony111, regarding KS and MJ, whether they are great is debatable due to their average away record. Well we dont get that many opportunities in England, Australia etc because we are not commercially viable like India or Pakistan. KS should have thought more about giving a younger person the chance in T20s cos that is not his game. The way he ate balls in the T20WC final last year was deplorable.

    Yes I agree that IPL route is all through you excelling for your country. Therefore, MJ and KS refusing to tour England in 2009 and instead insisting on playing IPL was utterly unacceptable (country first). Just look at last year March when Eng came to SL, it should have been 3 tests, but was just 2 cos MJ and KS wanted to play IPL. So the sad result is when we go to Eng in May next year, it will be just 2 tests and not the usual 3 tests.

    At least we must learn from how West Indies tackles IPL by releasing about half a dozen players for IPL, whilst playing their home tests as usual.

  • Prashan on January 13, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    @Harmony111, well team selection should ideally be based on playing in form players and also playing the best team suitable for the conditions. In a spinning pitch like Galle, Chennai, Kolkata, R Premadasa etc, it is ideal to play preferably 3 spinners. Yes if you have lost the series, then you may want to try newbies to test your bench strength. Yes I agree we would have lost the test series in Australia largely due to our careless mistakes more than Australia being that great. Aussies showed lot of commitment on the field and certainly they were far superior. But we had the greatest chance to win at Sydney, but we squadered that pathetically. We just gifted away our wickets due to sheer rashness.

  • Harmon on January 13, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    @Sinhaya: Team selection is never a sealed issue. Ppl will always have issues. Our PoV is vastly diff from the PoV of the captain/coach. We somehow tend to think of experimenting when we are anyways losing while the captain wants to somehow minimizes the damage of loss if he feels he cant win the match. That's just what some Ind fans also want. They say that Ind is anyways losing so let's try 4 newbies in 11 players while Dhoni feels it would break the team structure. Fast or slow bowlers, SL perhaps would have lost anyway, but avg spinners get exposed more on big grounds with flat wickets, we saw how Ashwin was exposed.

    You can't cap money's need. Its not right. I would say KS/MJ may or may not be good/great batsmen but I won't say they do not enjoy playing for SL or don't care how they perform for SL. They may be fatigued/jaded at times but they def are not traitors who betray their own country, don't be so cynical. Also, note that IPL's route is via Intl cricket only.

  • Prashan on January 13, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    @Harmony111, to add insult to injury, our sports minister must also ratify a squad for any home or away series. Good example is why on earth did n't we play Ajantha Mendis for the 3rd test against Aussies?? When we had a big casualty ward after the MCG massacre, it was Suranga Lakmal the passenger and Thirimanne who were told to fly down to Australia. It should have been Thirimanne and Ajantha Mendis who should have joined the squad for the SCG test. Shockingly we played 3 fast bowlers at the SCG who have averages beyond the batting average of Sachin T! We have selectors who cant fathom that pace bowling has not been and will never be our strength. Spin bowling will always be our strength. We are simply trying to match Aussies by playing pace bowlers and ending up as jokers!

  • Prashan on January 13, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    @Harmony111, we could not make money out of the WC 2011 due to sheer ego of building a stadium deep deep in the middle of nowhere. This Hambantota venue is a real white elephant. Unless any international game is played, no cricket is ever played there. It is not even a home to any club whatsoever. I just cant fathom the attitude of MJ and KS as it is simply a myserious contradiction. Our cricket board is unfortunately heavily politicized. Appointing Haroon Lorgat for 6 weeks will be meaningless because all his so called recommendations will be like talking to a wall. Yes there is politics in the cricket board and KS was crossed after 2011 world cup final cos he could not get the team he wanted. That was why he resigned.

    Yes true, many people leave a company due to issues with management. Surprising that why they want to make so much money now when they have made galores. MJ and KS even own a crab restaurant in the heart of Colombo. It is sheer greed really.

  • Harmon on January 13, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    @Sinhaya: I know there have been several issues with SLB in the last few years, they failed to make money of WC 2011 which was hailed by some as the most successful WC ever esp in contrast to 2007 WC. I don't think KS and MJ refused to tour Eng in 2011, they played in IPL and reached there 2-3 days before the 1st Test. It was Malinga who refused to go and he had his reasons: When he was injured some time back SLB did not care for him, it was MI who saved him from his injuries. May be this is what rankles KS and MJ too and they too don't want to play for a selfish board. I think there is serious politics in SLB which is why no one wants to be SL captain.

    Look, few ppl leave a company due to issues with company's vision. Most ppl leave a company due to issues with the mgt. SL is diff from SLB. Even if MJ/KS and others do something that u don't like may be it is cos they are miffed with SLB and not cos they are selfish and now ant to max their earnings while they last.

  • Andrew on January 13, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    @ hyclass on (January 12 2013, 12:18 PM GMT) - I am not happy with the amount of top order wickets we are losing to run outs, Hughes has been involved in a few - but IMO, there was NO WAY he was at fault in the Khawaja run out. What troubles me, is the poor attempt at grounding the bat - a bit like Cowan at the Gabba (bat in wrong hand), these are basics, but there seems to me, to be a need for a refresher course for ALL the batsmen. I am a big fan of Pup, but he sold Huss a shocker at the SCG! Perhaps Mike Hussey can be hired to give some lessons?????

  • Prashan on January 12, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    @endianuwagona, I fully agree with you. You make plenty of sensible comments and this comment should have been in the featured comments list. Champaka Ramanyake was day dreaming about Malinga returning to tests, if you recall this article Malinga will excel beyond imagination in BBL, IPL or even Friends provident T20. Utterly disgusting that Dimuth Karunaratne was sent back home when he was so well settled in this tour. Dont our players have the firm guts to refuse party invitations by our expats?? Surely after this tour, they have a 1 month rest before playing Bangladesh, which could have been used to holiday around in Australi. This is a real joke.

  • Deepal on January 12, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    What a shame, the much hyped & favorites SL team beaten all end up by the Aussie B-team ! Where are our super stars ? Where's that Malinga's Magic deliveries which he scared the Aussies ( & sent Samuel s to the hospital) to death in BBL ?! And what the hell one of the best ODI batsman in the world over 10k runs, Mahela doing ? ..still giving catching practices to the slip cordon each time he comes to bat in Aussie pitches...? The leader should be inspiring the other batsmen like Dhoni does his bit for the Indians, without which how can SL push for Victory ?....For God sake, plse drop Tharanga, an utter failure in fast pitches ( he is only good for slow pitches like we got back home) & let Mahela or Thirimanna ( left hander) promote to the opening slot & bring Rangana or the other young spinner for the rest of the matches Aussies are weak for spinners and we can quickly get the overs thru with Mendis/ Jeewan / Rangana or other / Dilly wit the new fielding rules in force.

  • Christopher on January 12, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    The attached video on this site shows that Khawaja ran himself out emphatically. If Hughes had run, he would have been run out by metres. The field was still up and looking to stop singles. The original call by Khawaja was poorly judged, Hughes call of no was instant and early. Khawaja would have been safe but failed to ground his bat effectively, a poor piece of execution. It was possibly nerves but Khawaja has no-one to blame but himself and any comment to the contrary could only come from one eyed Khawaja supporters or Hughes haters of which there are a few each on this blog. In fact one blogger is so enamoured with Khawaja's background until 3 years of age, that he has 6 or 7 separate blog names on this article alone to promote him, including attempting to copy my own.Fortunately, selection of the national side is in the hands of the Chairman, Inverarity, who took the recent and unusual step of publicly criticising Khawaja's running between the wickets which has a certain irony.