Millennium Post

Australia 299-4 vs Sri Lanka in 1st Test

Phil Hughes top-scored on his return to Australia's Test team, hitting 86 as the hosts finished today's opening day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on 299-4.

Brought back after a year's absence to replace the retired Ricky Ponting at No 3, Hughes was even on course for his first test century on home soil until Chanaka Welegedara bowled him for 86 in the second over after tea.

Captain Michael Clarke then continued his stellar form for 2012 with 70 not out in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 101 with Mike Hussey (37).

Welegedara was the most expensive bowler at Bellerive Oval but also the most dangerous, finishing with 3-99 after removing Ed Cowan in the morning session and Shane Watson after lunch.

Cowan failed to convince and fellow opener David Warner was needlessly run out, but Clarke and Hussey maintained Australia's hopes of a commanding total.

Clarke was limping at the close after a blow to the knee but still moved to 1,428 runs for 2012 with his 22nd career half century.’He does have a big limp but he'll get a bit of treatment and I'm sure he'll continue on tomorrow,’ Hughes said.

Clarke dominated more than Hughes but the latter did enough against a largely disciplined but unthreatening Sri Lanka seam attack to suggest his third stint in the side could be longer than the previous two. ‘There were a few nerves but really I was quite calm,’ Hughes said. ‘Overall, it was more excitement. To get a few runs behind me, the confidence is quite high now.’ Australia will look to carry on to build a big platform.
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