Melbourne Cricket Ground - Hughes debut ton guides Aussies home
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Hughes debut ton guides Aussies home

Jan 11, 2013

Opener Phil Hughes became the first Australian to score a one-day international century on debut in the home side's win over Sri Lanka at the MCG.Opener Phil Hughes became the first Australian to score a one-day international century on debut in the home side's 107-run win over Sri Lanka in front of a crowd of 27,461 at the MCG.

An Australian outfit led by George Bailey in his 14th ODI and featuring three debutants did what sides captained by Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson have not managed to do in the past three one-day international encounters against Sri Lanka at the MCG: win.

Bailey fell just short of a captain's hundred to, along with hughes, drive Australia to 5/305, before a series of run-outs derailed Sri Lanka's chase.

A late half-century from David Hussey, who was auditioning to become the permanent middle-order replacement for his retiring brother Michael, pushed the Australians past the 300-mark as the final 10 overs brought 89 runs.

Hussey finished unbeaten on 60 from 34 deliveries and took 21 off the last over, bowled by Ajantha Mendis, including a six over long-off to bring up his half-century. It was a fine finish for the Australians, who had chosen to bat on a very hot afternoon.

In the end, the Australians - without Clarke, Watson, David Warner, Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade - cruised to victory.  Brad Haddin took a stunning catch to end the innings of Dinesh Chandimal, and any lingering hope Sri Lanka had of pulling off a heist.

On 73, Chandimal got a thick edge to a delivery from Clint McKay and Haddin hurled himself in the air and to his right and plucked the ball out of mid-air. It was that sort of night for the Australians, who completed three sharp run-outs.

One of those ended the 94-run stand between Chandimal and Tillakaratne Dilshan, a partnership that might have left Bailey slightly nervous as they gained momentum. But a direct-hit from debutant Khawaja ended Dilshan's innings on 51, before two run-outs from consecutive deliveries got rid of Angelo Mathews for 12 and Lahiru Thirimanne for a diamond duck.

Mitchell Johnson picked up a couple of wickets and McKay cleaned up the tail to finish with 4/33 as the Sri Lankans were dismissed for 198 in the 40th over.

Hughes' 112 from 129 balls made him the eighth man to make a hundred on ODI debut and surpassed Phil Jaques (94) as the leading Australian scorer on debut.

His 140-run third-wicket stand with Bailey was the key for Australia after the other two debutants, Finch (16) and Khawaja (3), fell within the first 16 overs. Hughes was especially powerful through the off side, cutting and cover-driving when given width.

At the other end, Bailey had scored at a brisker rate than Hughes and picked the gaps well, working the ball effectively off his pads and driving straight down the ground.

Bailey's half-century came from 44 balls and he looked set for his first ODI century until he latched on to a Mathews delivery and sent it straight into the hands of Jeevan Mendis at deep midwicket.

The 107-run win is Australia's largest against Sri Lanka at the MCG and their seventh-largest against Sri Lanka (in terms of runs) overall. It is also the seventh-largest margin of victory for Australia against any team in ODIs at the venue.

The 140-run stand between George Bailey and Hughes is the highest third-wicket stand in ODIs at the MCG.

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