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Will day five be Phil Hughes' day?

17th March, 2013
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Phil Hughes was the victim of a bouncer, but is there a real danger to bowlers as well? (AP Photo/Chris Crerar)
Expert
17th March, 2013
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2205 Reads

There would be some poetic justice in this wretched tour of India if Phil Hughes could not only score a ton today, but salvage a draw.

Hughes resumes on this final day of the third Test at Mohali on 53 with nightwatchman Nathan Lyon on four, and Australia 3-75 still 16 runs in arrears.

Big ask for Hughes?

Huge.

Previously in this series he had scored 27 runs in five visits to the crease, facing 115 deliveries.

This dig is different, with his unbeaten 53 off 68 including nine fours and a six. He’s doing what he does best, getting stuck into the bowling.

Skipper Michael Clarke is unlikely to bat with his dicky back playing up, and with David Warner (2), Ed Cowan (8), and Steve Smith (5) all back in the shed Hughes is it.

It is timely to remind cricket fans this 24-year-old can bat.

In 22 Tests he’s cracked three tons and five half-tons, averaging 33.25. But in 93 first class games he’s scored 21 tons and 37 half-centuries, averaging 44.54.

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Not many 24-year-olds have chalked up 21 first-class tons during their careers.

And that’s his secret, hit the ball hard, and often. No matter what the attack. Not pottering around like an old hen, looking for fodder.

I hope I don’t put the mocker on Hughes, which commentators tend to do – the commentator’s curse.

But if Hughes just plays his normal game, this could be a fascinating final day,

Whatever the outcome, this Test will always be remembered for the suspension of four baggy greens – vice-captain Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, James Pattinson, and Mitchell Johnson – for not doing the coach’s homework.

Without peer the most petty international management decision of all-time.

Yesterday former Australian coach John Buchanan, now Director of Cricket in New Zealand, weighed in on the argument.

Buchanan well knows the machinations of Cricket Australia, and he reckons that decision could cost coach Mickey Arthur his job.

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There would be no argument on that score from many Roarers, and many cricket fans outside this site.

There will be plenty more said about Arthur’s future in the near future.

But it would be far more pleasant, and in the best interests of the Australian cricket team, if Hughes can crack a big ton and save this Test.

After two floggings, just saving a Test is a virtual win.

Phil Hughes is the only one capable of achieving just that.