India v Australia, 4th ODI, Ranchi October 22, 2013

Hughes wants to build on strong openings

ESPNcricinfo staff

Phillip Hughes is pleased with the consistency of his opening partnership with Aaron Finch so far in the ODI series against India. They put on 110, 74 and 68 in the first three matches and Hughes said they would have liked to have made larger stands.

"Aaron's very good to bat with," Hughes said on the eve of the fourth ODI in Ranchi. "Standing at the other end, I've got the best seat in the house when he goes off. We've had a really good relationship over the last five to ten years actually. We roomed together at the academy and always kept in touch. Aaron's just a fantastic guy and cricketer. I love going out to bat with him.

"The one disappointing thing is that we'd like to make the partnership bigger and try and take the game on even more. We've been quite consistent in the first three games and we've spoken about not looking too far ahead. Hopefully we can keep posting totals on the board and setting the guys that come in through the middle order."

Australia's captain George Bailey has built on the starts Hughes and Finch have provided. He is the second highest run-getter in the series after Virat Kohli, with 220 runs. Hughes said Bailey had been "outstanding".

"He [Bailey] is really leading from the front," Hughes said. "He is a real good character and we all love playing under George. He has been very consistent in the one-day format in the last 12 months. Again in this series, he has batted really beautifully, great to see the leader lead from the front."

Hughes has made 47, 83 and 22 in the series. When Australia lost all four Tests in India earlier this year, he had tallied 147 over eight innings at an average of 18.37, falling repeatedly against the India spinners. Hughes said Australia had moved on from that failure.

"The Test series a few months back wasn't as successful. For us to lose that series 4-0 was extremely disappointing. I suppose the wickets are different and it's a white ball. But there are a couple of things that I obviously picked up and worked on. That was the first time that I had toured India on an international tour and Test series. It's a nice thing to have toured and come back and score a few runs."

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had called Hughes "clearly our best young batsman in the country," and said he should be given a long run in the side. Hughes started the recent Ashes in England with an unbeaten 81 at Trent Bridge but was left out after following that up with a duck in the second innings and making 1 and 1 at Lord's. Hughes was grateful for Ponting's praise.

"That's the first I've heard of it. It's great when a great player of Ricky's calibre comes out and says that and supports you. It's a fantastic feeling. For me personally it's just about being as consistent as possible and continuing to keep performing. I'm just grateful to be in this one-day side. I want to keep putting consistent scores on the board and hopefully set up wins for Australia."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on October 23, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    @bobagorof: In the recent Test series, the Australian bats were all at sea against the spin of Ashwin + LH leg spin of Ojha & Jadeja. They literally ran thru' the OZ batting. Mishra is a wrist leg spinner with excellent googly. Unfortunately the Indian Captain does not like leg spin. So he is OUT. @TheBigBoodha:At least one LBW was plumb Out- as I watched the slow action replay. Kohli's catch at the point was definitely Out when you hear the loud click + bat proximity in slow motion. Clearly the new Unpire was bit over awed by the situation & looked tense. Judging by today's 4th ODI, both Hughes & Finch fell cheaply to the new seamer Shami, replacing Ishant Sharma. I hope Ishant sits out for the rest of the series.

  • Basil on October 23, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    He's doing ok but I think the selectors have scared him. He looks like a guy too scared to make a mistake. Just as Mad_Hamish was alluding to, he is batting too slow in these conditions. The 83 off 103 was reminiscent of Simon Katich innings in the famous 400+ game vs South Africa. Costly.

  • Tahir on October 23, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    He has been very useful but with the presence of three precious all rounders who are gaining more and more formidability through this series Hughes should be confident as these three (Maxy, Fauxy and Watson) already proved their worth with useful innings and scoring roughly 26% of total runs scored by aussies in first three ODIs. It is aussie bowlers who have to target certain players in indian batting lineup and keep them below 250 like first ODI where india could not chase and got out for 232. They will keep pressure off Hughes and he will prosper further in the next four games.

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    @Dunger.Bob, I think you are being a bit tough on him, he is averaging a tick over 40. His strike rate is down a little considering the new rules in place but then again he is opening up against 2 new balls so its a little hard to figure out how that is going to play out over time. I think we just need to keep giving him opportunities and he'll figure it out, easy to forget he is still only 24!

  • rob on October 23, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    At some point Phil is going to need a run of scores to keep his place and give himself some much needed confidence. A lot of the time he looks scratchy and uncertain. He's often caught in two minds and eventually goes to the cut shot as his only way of rotating the strike. He gets so cut shot obsessed he falls over anything on middle or leg. I've seen him get tied down by a bowler deliberately aiming at his legs !! There aren't too many other left handers on the world stage where that would a wise tactic. .. I have no idea what his problem is because I'm not a coach, but it sure as hell looks like a fatal technical flaw to my untrained eyes. He seems to be on the way to getting it fixed only to slip back into it in a seemingly random fashion.

    All I can say is please, can someone fix Phil.

    Then again, he now has three decent scores in a row so this might be the start of the final emergence of Phil Hughes. I certainly hope so, but won't be surprised if it's not.

  • Hamish on October 23, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    Hughes has 47 from 53 balls (reasonable for the match) 83 from 103 balls, the team strike rate was over 7 rpo, India made 362 from 43 overs so Hughes was extremely slow for the match. If he'd scored at the average Australian rate they'd have had about an extra 30-35 runs which might have made a difference. and 22 from 40 balls chasing over 300. He's been slow in 2 of the 3 matches. In tests he's made 1 100 and 6 50s in 23 tests 43 innings averaging 27 since his first series. He's got an eye but his technique isn't working at test level and he's just had a run of 3 tests vs SL, 4 tests vs India and 2 tests vs England so that's a recent run of 9 tests in a row. How much rope should he get?

  • Chris on October 23, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    Nampally, I have to disagree with your sentiment about Highes. I could say the same about Kohli, he was given not out when he edged one behind. However I will not, because we know Kohli is a class player. Rather than trying to make excuse for your country and pull down Australian players why not have respect for them rather than sayign its all good. Hughes averages 40 in only 17 games, not such a bad start to his career in my opinion.

    And if you want to talk about catches going down, Ishant has had 2 catches dropped off his bowling at point, perhaps it would be different series if these had been taken, Yet Indian fans still tear into Ishant, can't have it both ways.

    Lets hope this series continues to be an exciting one.

  • siddhartha on October 23, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    Hughes technique is pretty awkward. I don't think he will be successful in challenging conditions. Or who knows he might be the next Chanderpaul :D

  • Dummy4 on October 22, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    Sean Marsh, Michael Klinger and Dave Warner have all done everything they could to put pressure on these two to keep their places, they're not quite set yet but they're not doing badly.

    It's a bit rubbish that they Ryobi cup's taking place now, wouldn't it have been great to see everyone play off to make it to the Australian ODI side to go to India?