Hughes makes ODI debut worth the wait
A century from Phil Hughes on his one-day international bow and some terrific fielding helped Australia to a 107-run win over Sri Lanka at the MCG.
Twenty-cap Test batsman Hughes, who hit 112 from 129 deliveries, became the first Australian to score a hundred on ODI debut as the hosts posted 305 for five.
Stand-in skipper George Bailey added 89 in a 79-ball stay and David Hussey blasted 60 not out from 34 deliveries, making light of the absence of regular captain Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, David Warner, Mike Hussey and Matthew Wade.
Despite losing two early wickets, Sri Lanka were in the game at 111 for two after 25 overs with Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 51, and Dinesh Chandimal, the team’s top scorer with 73, looking comfortable at the crease.
However a period of madness that saw Australia complete three run-outs - two of which were direct hits - in less than five overs effectively ended the contest as Dilshan, Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne were dismissed.
Pacemen Clint McKay, a standout performer with 4-33 in eight overs, and Mitchell Johnson mopped up the tail as Sri Lanka were eventually dismissed for 198, giving Australia first blood in the five-game series.
Needing more than six per over, Dilshan lived dangerously and saw Upul Tharanga caught behind off Mitchell Starc and skipper Mahela Jayawardene held at first slip off McKay.
Dilshan continued to take risks in trademark fashion while Chandimal started off patiently before displaying his obvious talent with a series of sublime strokes.
Australia's spinners were not threatening - Xavier Doherty, Glenn Maxwell and Hussey bowled 17 overs between with them without a wicket - and Sri Lanka seemed right in the game.
A brilliant piece of fielding from Usman Khawaja changed that; he threw down the stumps from mid-off to remove Dilshan in the 26th over.
Just four overs later, Maxwell produced a direct hit from the off side to dismiss Mathews and next ball a suicidal attempted single saw Thirimanne run out.
Chandimal continued to play well but he ran out of partners before being dismissed via a sublime one-handed catch from wicketkeeper Haddin.
McKay and Johnson finished off the innings with a minimum of fuss as the tourists were bowled out with 10 overs remaining.
Earlier, an Australian side fielding three debutants - Hughes, Finch and Khawaja - made a bright start after Bailey won the toss. Hughes dominated an opening stand of 53 until Ajantha Mendis had the former caught behind for 16.
Khawaja did not last long, run out by Jeevan Mendis when his bat was over the line but not grounded.
Bailey made a positive start to his innings, timing the ball well, and he and Hughes quickly got to work. They added 140 at run-a-ball with Hughes typically strong square of the wicket, hitting five fours in his favourite area.
The left-hander slowed up as he approached three figures but regular boundaries from Bailey kept the pressure off before Hughes reached the milestone with a quick single off Ajantha Mendis.
Hughes was caught behind off Lasith Malinga and Bailey also fell towards the end, just short of a deserved century when he picked out Jeevan Mendis on the midwicket fence off Mathews.
Maxwell came and went quickly before Hussey's late hitting - he smashed five fours and a six - helped Australia push past 300, a total that proved beyond their opponents.