Recalled Phil Hughes stars for Australia in Hobart

 

Phil Hughes justified his recall by Australia after a year in the wilderness with 86 as the hosts closed on 299 for four on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

The 24-year-old, offered the opportunity to resume his Test career following the retirement of Ricky Ponting, took his chance with eight fours and one six in a 166-ball knock.

It was Hughes' fourth Test half-century and came 12 months after he was dropped following a horror show against New Zealand at the same venue.

The innings was all the more impressive given the newly-laid wicket has proved a minefield for top-order batsmen in the Sheffield Shield this season.

At stumps, captain Michael Clarke was unbeaten on 70 in a stand of 101 with Michael Hussey, who was on 37 not out.

Chanaka Welegedara did most of the damage for the tourists with three wickets for 99.

Together with Shane Watson, Hughes had helped Australia rebuild after the needless loss of the impressive David Warner immediately before lunch.

Warner, who had 57 of the 97 runs the hosts scored in the morning, was run out trying to grab a quick single that simply was not there, Angelo Mathews picking him off with an easy throw to the non-striker's end.

That ended a strong partnership of 79 with Hughes, built after opener Ed Cowan suffered another early dismissal, departing for just four after attempting a pull shot but getting under it to give Shaminda Eranga an easy catch at mid-on.

Watson went late in the second session, caught by outgoing Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene off Welegedara for 30.

Hughes reached 82 at tea, his innings including a big six off Rangana Herath, even if the shot - less than cleanly struck - was not one of his best.

He added just four more before being bowled off an inside edge by the dangerous if expensive Welegedara, but Clarke and Hussey took the score to the brink of the 300-mark as the hosts wrestled back the ascendancy.

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