New South Wales v Tasmania, Sheffield Shield, Newcastle, 1st day January 30, 2009

Hughes stands tall for South Africa tour with 151

Cricinfo staff

New South Wales 3 for 356 (Hughes 151, Katich 102*) v Tasmania
Points table

Phillip Hughes earned his fourth Sheffield Shield century of the season with 151 © Getty Images

Phillip Hughes shone with a perfectly timed 151 against Tasmania as his major rivals for Matthew Hayden's opening spot failed to make significant marks. If the selectors pick Hughes, 20, it will signal a dramatic shift towards youth and he showed he could cope during a heavily-scrutinised innings that helped push New South Wales to 3 for 356 in Newcastle.

Phil Jaques, another serious contender for the upcoming tour of South Africa, was bowled early for 9 in his first-class return from back surgery while the Victorian Chris Rogers fell for 24 against South Australia at the MCG. In front of the selector Jamie Cox, who will pick the side next week, Hughes earned his fourth century of the summer and took his collection to 809 runs at 67.41.

Hughes had scored 22 for the Prime Minister's XI against New Zealand on Thursday before flying to Sydney and travelling by road to Newcastle. When his century came with a cover-driven boundary - one of 22 fours in his 248-ball innings - off Gerard Denton he celebrated hard and stayed to raise his bat again with his 150. He was dropped two overs before being caught by Alex Doolan trying to hit Jason Krejza over mid-on.

Hughes and Peter Forrest, who was caught behind for 39, put on a careful 116 before the dramatic arrival of Simon Katich lifted the pace. Katich, the captain, had dropped himself to No. 4 to allow Hughes and Jaques the best chance to partner him in the Test side. Katich raced to 102 off 110 balls, with seven fours and four sixes, as the Blues blasted 191 in 34 overs after tea.