As one man made a whirlwind introduction into Test match cricket, one man was at the other end slowly rebuilding his batting reputation.

Phil Hughes has had a chequered career so far in the baggy green and his memories of previous Ashes contests would have left him feeling far from confident as he strode to the crease with Australia precariously placed at 4-53.

Hughes' battles in previous Test series against this same attack would have left a lesser man bereft of confidence. 

In the 2009 Ashes series, Hughes lasted for only the first two Tests of the series, with only 57 runs in his kit bag at the paltry average of 19.

He returned the following year, this time on home soil and his performance was again less than compelling, scoring only at an average of 16, unable to pass 50 on any occasion.

His chief nemesis in previous series, James Anderson, must have been salivating at the prospect of again torturing the young Australian as he walked out into a hostile environment.

But this Phil Hughes is a far different beast than the player who struggled so consistently in previous Ashes campaigns.

After being embarrassed for a second time by the English, Hughes went about re-working certain areas of his unusual technique.

Hughes was susceptible to attempting to ride the ball when it was pitched short, which led to him often being unbalanced, even sometimes it was found that both his feet would be in the air as he made contact with the ball.

He and his coaches were quick to spot this and eradicate it from his game which has led to a much more balanced Hughes.

When Hughes first burst onto the scene with hundreds in both innings of his second Test against South Africa, he was brilliant at scoring runs in his zones, mainly through cut shots.

Once bowlers figured this out they started to bowl at Hughes, often intimidating him through sheer pace and even attempting to try and bounce him out.

Since then, Hughes has significantly improved his on-side play as he continually punches the bowling through the square leg/mid wicket areas.

While Hughes still has a long way to go to improve his technique, especially against spin bowling, an assured and patient 81* is a great place to start as he attempts to resurrect not only his career, but his Ashes reputation.

 

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Topics:
#Phil Hughes
#Australia cricket
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