Hughes helps South Australia to powerful position
South Australia 3 for 163 (Hughes 77*, Cooper 54) lead Victoria 118 (Christian 39, Putland 3-16, Richardson 3-30) by 45 runs
Phillip Hughes continued his productive start to the Sheffield Shield season with an unbeaten half-century as South Australia took total control on the first day against Victoria at the MCG. After Gary Putland and Kane Richardson picked up three wickets each as the Redbacks skittled the Bushrangers for 118, Hughes and Tom Cooper easily delivered first-innings points to the visitors.
At stumps, South Australia's lead was 45 runs and they had an excellent chance to build an enormous advantage with seven wickets in hand. Hughes was still at the crease on 77 and was joined by Callum Ferguson, who was on 9, and South Australia's total had moved along to 3 for 163.
The form of Hughes is encouraging after he was dropped from the Test team during the Ashes tour of England: in his past two matches he has scored 204, 7 and 67. He had struck ten boundaries in his 145-ball innings and put on 107 for the third wicket with Cooper, who was eventually caught at slip off the bowling of Scott Boland for 54.
The runs flowed more freely for the Redbacks than they did for Victoria, who had won the toss and elected to bat. Richardson, who had been withdrawn from the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI playing England in Alice Springs so he could turn out for South Australia, picked up three of Victoria's top five batsmen before Putland caused problems in the lower order.
The Victorians had left the veteran David Hussey out of the side despite his 85 in their innings defeat at the hands of Western Australia last week, but none of the batsmen chosen for this match passed fifty, with Daniel Christian's 39 the highest score. Victoria's 118 was their lowest score against South Australia in nearly 50 years, and their day only got worse when allrounder Glenn Maxwell left the field injured late in the day after bowling two balls of his second over.