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Hughes peaking at the right time

Investec Test Series

Phillip Hughes

Australia opener Phillip Hughes plays off the back foot on his way to a patient 78

Australia batting prodigy Phillip Hughes believes he is starting to hit form again in the lead-up to the Ashes, starting in Cardiff on July 8.

The 20-year-old New South Wales batsman enhanced his reputation for quick scoring on a six-week stint with Middlesex at the start of the summer, but on a sunny Friday in Hove a 7,000 sell-out crowd witnessed a more studied approach.

The right-hander from Macksville occupied the crease for over two and a half hours for his 78, which included 11 fours, only to be bowled for the second time in the match by Sussex seamer Pepler Sandri following an over-ambitious waft across the line.

Undaunted by missing out on his hundred, Hughes said: “You look to get a fair bit out of these practice games in the lead-up to the first Test and you have to take them seriously.

“It was nice to get a few more than the first innings (15) and get a better start. I would have liked to have gone on, but to get 78 under my belt is always good for confidence.

“It was a slow wicket out there. Before the start of the day you walk out there and just have a look, see what it is, and it was a third-day wicket.

“It’s worn and torn a bit; you have to look at these things and sum up the different conditions we’re playing in over here.

“They came at us pretty hard early on, the ball wasn’t coming on to the bat and there was a little bit of late swing early on with the new ball. You want to adapt to that as quickly as you can, especially over here.

“There was also a bit of rough for Ollie Rayner and it was good to face him in these conditions.”

As for the Ashes series that starts in only 11 days’ time, Hughes added: “I’m always confident whatever is in front of me. I’m looking for challenges and a great contest against England.

“In South Africa they came at us very hard, but I’m confident in my game and can’t wait until the series kicks off.

“I like to go out there and play my way - that’s pretty aggressive - but that’s the way I’ve always played.”

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