Victoria v South Australia, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne November 29, 2013

Hughes helps South Australia to powerful position

ESPNcricinfo staff

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 Richardson, who had been withdrawn from the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI playing England in Alice Springs so he could turn out for South Australia, picked up three of Victoria's top five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.

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  • Christopher on December 1, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    @CamH. Your cause and effect are, as with many, in reverse. Hughes had no issue against the short ball, before joining the Australian squad in '09 and being 'forced to prepare in a manner that wasn't suited to his game', according to long time mentor, Neil DeCosta. That was prior to the Lions game. The idea that he could be a relatively short opening batsman and not have faced fierce accurate short bowling is ridiculous. There was nothing new in the Flintoff approach-only in the Hughes response, which showed a complete change of technique which should have raised alarms in the observant. He had come from flaying the 1100 wicket SA attack of Steyn, Morkel, Ntini, Kallis and Harris on their own turf, who announced before the tour that they would knock his head off. They tried and failed. Watch Youtube on his twin 100's. They were vastly superior to the Eng attack. He had 1637 runs in 10 games at 96 with 8 hundreds, leading into the Lions game and almost 600 runs for Middlesex in 3 games.

  • Cameron on November 30, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    @Hyclass - while I admire your enthusiasm and support of Hughes I feel you are pumping his tyres a little too much. I too believe he is a talent and can have a strong test career but it is clear that he has had some technical issues along the way. His weakness against the short, fast ball that cramps him for room on the offside that Flintoff and Harmison exposed and his absolute inability to bat against quality off spin can't really be attributed to the coaching issues you raise . Although I am happy to concede the he perhaps hasn't been coached that well at the national level and I thought he was very unlucky to be dropped in the recent Ashes after a very good knock in the first test. In my opinion the selectors panicked about his ability to plat Swan. As for 2nd to Bradman I would like to categorically state that Ponting, Hayden, Waugh, Clarke, Border, Chappell, Lawry, Harvey, Walters, and possibly several others are & always will be well ahead. Can still be very good though.

  • Guy on November 30, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx, you are quite right. Hughes now has 23 FC centuries at 25 years of age, compared to Shane Watson's 19 (at 32 years of age). Says something, doesn't it!

  • Christopher on November 30, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    The resurrection of Hayden's career is a better comparison that Steve Waugh. Hayden was playing an entirely different game for much of his early Test career. It was only when he reverted to his bullying batting style, that he found successful expression. He wasn't forced to change his game by members of his own squad, though in every other respect, the comparison is a valid one. Waugh simply removed shots that dismissed him. His ugly play against the short ball was part of an overall successful mechanism which in a risk/reward paradigm, had validity. Langer, played the same game, but changed his scoring zones to far more in the 'V', rather than through an behind point, as he had been doing unsuccessfully. Both Hayden and Langer, came within a Test of being permanently dropped. I hope and believe that reason may yet prevail and that Hughes will continue on to validate those attributes of success at the level that I first observed in he and his game during the 08/09 Shield season.

  • Christopher on November 30, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    Comparisons with Bradman are futile. Norm O'Neill suffered that early fate, as have many others. Bradman was more than just the greatest cricketer to ever take the field, he was one of the more amazing men to ever have lived and his qualities were quite unique. What I can say, is that if Hughes is not only allowed, but encouraged to play his own style and to make Test cricket a priority to the exclusion of 20/20 and ODI , then I expect him to finish second only to Bradman as an Australian Test cricketer. He lacks Bradman's endurance and his range of strokes is incomplete, but those that he possesses were enough to have his hundreds , equal to or greater than his fifties, before he was forced to change his games on joining the Australian squad in '09. His averages in Test and 1st Class cricket were well into the 60's and climbing.There is enough time with encouragement, for his career to continue down and finish at those heady heights. Like many well informed observers, I watch in hope.

  • mark on November 30, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Agree with the pro Hughes comments earlier... said for a long time Hughes is the best young bat in country. And agree that like Hayden and S Waugh and others before him that any player to average plus 50 as Hughes did earlier before the test failures dragged his av down,can play. Has more tons than other sub 25 yo in fc cricket. Has been mucked around a bit over technique and shunted in/out and up down the order too. A season or too making runs again like he is now, plus I hope another season in county cricket, he will play tests again and succeed.Only downside is the Adelaide track is batsman friendly, so wld like to see him make tons on other Aust pitches plus go to county cricket again in off season to round out his game .Australian cricket wil be stronger for having a Hughes in it. Best young bat since Clarke by a mile.

  • Christopher on November 30, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    @Barnsey4444-I'm very encouraged by that news. I'd seen him play in the 08/09 season before being selected for Australia and deemed him the best left hand batsman I'd seen. I reasoned that his limitations were, a maximum score of around 200, possibly an endurance metric and limits against quality finger spinners-especially left arm, on turning wickets. Anyone who saw him play the '09 Lions game and Ashes, knew, he wasn't playing his game. When his long time mentor, Neil DeCosta stated publicly, that 'he'd been forced, on joining the squad, to prepare in a way that wasn't suited to him or his game',it should have made headlines. People asked why he failed at Test level. Every time he joined the squad, he had that,'change your game or else be dropped' paradigm hanging over him. Thank God Lehmann is there. He was always individualistic. The public owes Hughes a great apology for entirely misreading the circumstance and CA owes everyone a significant explanation for its behaviour.

  • Andrew on November 30, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    In spite of his up and down test career he is still a better bet at first drop than Watson.

  • Mashuq on November 29, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Agree @wix99 on (November 29, 2013, 10:42 GMT) that Hughes will be back, but there are only so many chances to succeed. A top 6 of Rogers, Warner and Hughes, Clarke, Smith and North for the WACA won't be half bad. That would allow Faulkner to form a pace quartet to cash in with Smith and North bowling into the wind.

  • Eden on November 29, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Good work Hughes and a handy knock from Cooper pity Head failed. Klinger and Ferg have to step up cause so far this season they have been below par. Great to see Putland back, the bowling attack for the redbacks is very good this year. The likes of Lawford, Sayers, Mennie, Richardson, Zampa, Putland and the captain Botha have all been good so far. Go Redbacks

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