Phil Hughes Hits Debut Ton To Set Up Easy Australia Win
Australia 305-5 (Hughes 112) beat
Sri Lanka 198 (Chandimal 73) by 107 runs
First One-Day International, MCG
It had been expected that a change in format, coupled with the resting of several key players by the hosts, would have brought about a change in fortune for Sri Lanka on their, thus far, winless tour of Australia. However, one of Australia’s three debutants, Phil Hughes, became the first of his countrymen to hit a century on debut and guided them to a total that was enough to seal another comprehensive win.
Stand-in captain George Bailey, alongside David Hussey, capitalised on the start Hughes had given them, with a pair of brisk half-centuries, while Sri Lanka’s challenge faded following the run-out of Tillakaratne Dilshan in the 26th over - their woes then compounded by two further run-outs.
Australia, for the first time in decades, had fielded a top three consisting solely of players on debut, and two of them struggled for fluency. Aaron Finch, who had been called up following his prolific form for Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League, made only 16 in a 53-run opening partnership with Hughes, while Usman Khawaja contributed just three before becoming the first of the day’s run-outs.
Hughes’ innings was therefore all the more special. He provided a base from which Bailey and particularly Hussey would later launch an onslaught, which would culminate in Hussey taking 21 from the final over of the innings bowled by Ajantha Mendis.
Hughes scored at a relatively consistent pace throughput his innings and brought up three figures from his 123rd delivery. By that time, he had added more than 100 with his captain and had laid a platform for Australia’s total of 305 for five.
Hughes was eventually caught behind off Lasith Malinga for 112 aiming a wild slog over mid-wicket, but this only brought David Hussey to the crease. He quickly settled in and played the role which his elder brother had for so many years; that of finisher. He coped with the loss of Bailey for 89 and Glenn Maxwell for just five; scoring the bulk of the runs in the unbroken sixth-wicket partnership that he shared with Brad Haddin. Together the pair put on 57 in six overs, with Haddin’s contribution just 10. Hussey ended on 60 not out off 34 balls.
Sri Lanka’s challenge was dealt an early double blow as Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayawardene both fell inside the first six overs. However, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal set about the recovery and just about kept their side in the hunt. Both men passed 50, but the required rate was always climbing and, by the time Dilshan was run-out by a direct hit from mid-off, it had climbed to almost eight an over.
That was the first of three run-outs in quick succession which snuffed out any lingering hopes that Sri Lanka might have had. Glenn Maxwell was the man responsible for the next two - off consecutive deliveries - sending Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne packing with two pieces of lightning quick fielding. Chandimal then departed to Clint McKay - who cleaned up the tail and ended with four for 33 - to cap off a disappointing performance from Sri Lanka. They must now regroup ahead of the second ODI on Sunday.
© Cricket World 2013
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