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Aussies in charge

Hobart: Phil Hughes made a solid 86 on his return to Test cricket before Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey took up the running and steered Australia to 299 for four at close of play on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.

Hughes was the only batsmen to fall in the final session, lasting only a couple of overs after lunch before being bowled through the gate by Chanaka Welegedera, giving the Sri Lankan seamer his third wicket of the day.

Clarke, 70 batting, and Hussey, unbeaten on 37, batted through the remainder of the day and if the evidence of their prolific partnerships in the recent series against South Africa is anything to go by, will take some shifting. Sri Lanka’s bowlers made life uncomfortable for the batsmen at times but struggled for any real penetration.

Friday, however, belonged to Hughes. The lefthander was recalled to the side on the back of good domestic form following the retirement of Ricky Ponting.

The 24-year-old reached his fourth Test half century with a square drive for three runs and then initially accelerated towards a century, most notably with an ugly but effective slog for six off spinner Rangana Herath.

Meanwhile, Mahela Jayawardene will step down as captain of the Sri Lanka Test and one-day teams after the current tour of Australia and has backed Angelo Mathews to replace him. “I hope I don’t get any more SOS calls,” Jayawardene told reporters.