Hughes oozes class
Phillip Hughes, the great new Australia batting hope, certainly lived up to expectations as he hit a brilliant 100 not out on his Middlesex debut at Lord’s today.
The 20-year old left-hander was a controversial choice as Middlesex’s first overseas player of the season after scoring two centuries against South Africa in Durban earlier this year - in what was only his second Test appearance.
However, he announced himself to English audiences by playing his usual attacking game after Glamorgan had piled up 505 in the LV= County Championship Division Two match.
Middlesex have been criticised for allowing Hughes invaluable experience of English conditions ahead of the Ashes this summer, and the opener made the most of his very first opportunity – although a second day of warm sunshine and blue skies was more akin to Sydney in a southern hemisphere summer than St John’s Wood in April.
Hughes also had to endure four-and-a-half sessions in the field before getting his chance with the bat, as Mark Wallace completed an excellent 128 – in century stands with both Robert Croft and David Harrison – to take Glamorgan strongly on from their overnight 351 for six.
But he was soon into his stride, characteristically cutting and slashing at anything short of a length and approaching width outside his off-stump.
By tea he was on 42, having just lost his opening partner Billy Godleman to a gentle caught and bowled following a positive stand of 67.
Glamorgan’s seamers, however, were too guilty of feeding Hughes’ favourite strokes either side of square cover, and neither were they canny enough – or perhaps good enough – either to try to tuck him up on middle and leg, especially from around the wicket.
Yet there is no denying the class of Hughes’ strokeplay, or the keenness of his eye. There may have been a few streaky off-side boundaries to the third man region but there were also some magnificent extra cover drives and shots off his pads.
Neil Dexter, who signed from Kent last year, also impressed – greeting the introduction of Croft’s off-spin by hitting him back over his head to the pavilion rails at the end of his opening over.
In the day’s final session, the pair took their second wicket partnership to 107 and Middlesex to 174 for one.
Hughes reached his century in the day's final over, with a single wide of a specially-stationed short third man. He had faced only 141 balls, hitting 17 fours.
At the close Dexter was unbeaten on 43 and had played the ideal support act to Hughes, who completed his eighth first-class hundred in what is only his 22nd first-class appearance.