Relieved to get a few runs: Hughes
Phil Hughes scored 6, 0, 19, and 0 in the first two Tests of the ongoing India tour. To some it looked almost obvious that he would lose his place in the playing XI in Mohali. However, the disciplinary ban on Shane Watson and Usman Khawaja gave Hughes one more chance to regain his form and confidence.
When Pragyan Ojha got him caught behind for 2 in the first innings in Mohali, the pressure on Hughes’ shoulders increased. He had once again fallen cheaply to an Indian spinner. Taking guard in the second innings Hughes knew his immediate fate hung in the balance. And like all good players do, the 24-year-old showed character when it mattered.
During his counterattacking 69, he struck 11 fours and a six. He had taken the pressure off himself and had begun to play the game he was familiar with. The confidence he gained from that knock was translated into a cool and composed demeanour in the first essay in Delhi.
Hughes came in after the early fall of David Warner and made a free-flowing 45. While a few of his shots in Mohali were edgy, here he exuded confidence. Remarkably, he scored 40 runs in boundaries. Hughes’ redemption came to a premature end when a nasty rising delivery from Ishant Sharma broke his concentration, and a ball later led him to play one on to his stumps.
At the end of Day 1, as Australia fought to prolong their first innings, Hughes took time out to speak to bcci.tv about his tough maiden Test tour of India.
Are you more relieved than anything else to finally get some runs under your belt in this series?
It took a little while coming, but it’s good to get a few runs in the last game. A few more today would’ve been nicer, but that’s the way it goes. This tour has been tough and we knew it was going to be tough. But till you really come and play in these conditions you don’t really know. And now I’m glad to have that experience behind me and it’s nice to get a few runs. It’s always better late than never. Everyone’s working on their game extremely hard behind the scenes. The results haven’t gone our way but we are fighting hard.
Ishant bowled you a delivery today that rose after pitching on length and took you by surprise. Did that play a role in your dismissal a ball later?
It just lifted off short of length and got me really good actually. A ball later to get out was a little bit disappointing, but we fought back really well there with Peter Siddle and Steve Smith forging a good partnership towards the end.
After failing for five innings straight how much pressure was there on you during the Mohali knock?
It was more about my mental toughness. Missing out in five innings straight is quite tough when you desperately want to contribute to the team. It wasn’t going to plan. So I thought the best way is to go out and play my natural game and try to get a few quick runs. It just worked out that way. I am a bit aggressive and that’s my natural game. So it boiled down to me just batting the way I know best. It was pleasing to get runs with that plan.
What according to you has been your biggest problem against Indian spinners in this series?
It’s hard to put a finger on a particular thing. They bowled really well so you’ve got to give credit to the Indian spinners. The wickets turned and they bowled a lot of spin, so naturally you’re going to get out to spin bowling.
What have you learnt about your own game from this tour?
In the last two innings I’ve batted quite aggressively. I feel like I stuck to my game plan, which didn’t work out in the first two games. Deep down I knew that it would work eventually if I stuck to what I knew best. It was a mental lesson to stick to what you believe in with conviction. Occasionally when you miss out, you want to keep changing things. But the pleasing thing was that I continued with my game plan and it came off at the end of the series.