Hughes stars in Australian tour win
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Phil Hughes may have saved his place in the line-up for the first Test, after notching two half centuries in Australia’s opening tour match win over Somerset in Taunton.
The Australians cruised to a six-wicket win midway through day four after being set a victory target of 260.
Brad Haddin stayed in good touch with 52no and a big six to finish the job, while bowling allrounder James Faulkner (5no) remained unbeaten in both his innings.
Hughes was under pressure leading into the start of the Ashes after well documented troubles against the moving ball.
But a drop to No.5 in the first innings saw him thrive in an impressive knock of 76no while, in the second dig, he managed 50 batting at his more accustomed position of first drop.
Where Hughes will play is up for debate but it seems likely new coach Darren Lehmann will try to reinvent him as a middle order batsman against England.
With Shane Watson (90 in the first innings) assured of opening, the remaining two spots at the top seem down to Chris Rogers, Usman Khawaja and Ed Cowan.
Rogers is a frontrunner given his proven record in English conditions.
Khawaja (73) edged out Cowan (46) in the second innings rankings but the next practice against Worcestershire, starting on Tuesday, shapes as a shootout between the pair for the first Test.
Cowan has given reliable service but has struggled to go on with the job since his maiden Test century in Brisbane last year.
Khawaja is a favourite of Lehmann through their association in Queensland, but he hasn’t done enough to be assured of selection.
England spinner Graeme Swann would have enjoyed the sight of Somerset slow bowler George Dockrell knocking over three of the Australian big guns on Saturday.
Khawaja and Hughes, who have both struggled against spin in the past, were dismissed by Dockrell and the left-armer also removed the usually rock-solid Michael Clarke for 26, when the skipper charged down the crease.
The Australians are likely to rotate their men quite a bit for the Worcestershire match, wanting to give squad players like Ryan Harris, Jackson Bird and Rogers a chance to impress.
James Pattinson took seven wickets for the match to lead the fast bowlers, while Mitchell Starc finished with six.© AAP 2014