Hughes overcomes debut Ashes `heartache` with Trent Bridge performance
Sydney: Australian batsman Phillip Hughes has managed to break through his debut Ashes heartache after his unbeaten 81 helped steer Australia out of trouble on the second day of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Hughes first Ashes experience in 2009 led to a very public breakdown of his unconventional batting technique as the then-20-year-old scored just 57 runs at an average of 19, being terrorised by the short ball and bounced out of the Australian side after just two Tests.
The report further said that the pint-sized left-hander did not do much better in England`s return bout in Australia in 2010, being called up for the final three Tests of the series and averaging just 16 without passing 50, once more falling a victim to England`s pace barrage.
However, the report said that Hughes dashed England`s, especially swing specialist James Anderson`s hopes, after he produced one of the best knocks of his career, despite a testing period under overcast skies on Wednesday, and made a record breaking 163 run 10th wicket partnership in a winning combination with No.11 debutant Ashton Agar (98).
Guiding Australia to a 65 run first innings lead, Hughes had shown a marked confidence against the short ball and stacked up nine boundaries in his 131-ball innings, giving a headache to Anderson, who said that Hughes was a different player to the one he had tormented in past tours.
Stating that Hughes had played considerably better than his past matches with him, Anderson said that the batsman showed a lot of skill to get through some tricky periods of play, and admitted that England would need to work out why Hughes was able to frustrate them so effectively.
Meanwhile, Agar also praised his batting partner, saying that Hughes` advice had been invaluable as he compiled his remarkable debut knock for a team, which has lost valued leaders Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting in the past summer.
However, the report said that although Hughes has forced his way back into the Test line-up through sheer weight of runs in county and Sheffield Shield cricket, the at-times fragile 24-year-old would still need to face an enemy which had derailed him twice already in the Ashes.