Hughes survives axe

2011-12-08 07:49
Phil Hughes (Gallo)
Hobart - Embattled opener Phil Hughes retained his spot in Australia's unchanged team for the second Test against New Zealand which starts on Friday in Hobart.

Hughes, who may yet make way for injured all rounder Shane Watson for Australia's four-Test series against India, kept his place in the side that completed a comprehensive nine-wicket victory in the first Test in Brisbane despite struggling for form.

The 23-year-old left-hander scored just 10 and seven in the Brisbane test and all rounder Dan Christian, who was brought into the squad as a replacement for the injured Ben Cutting, had very nearly forced his way into the side to make his Test debut, captain Michael Clarke told reporters.

"We spoke about (playing Christian). That's why he is here," Clarke told local media. "We know what he can do with the ball. It was a long debate.

"But we felt the team played well in Brisbane and it is important to keep a winning team."

Christian would have added an extra option to the three pace bowlers who skittled New Zealand for just 150 in their second innings at the Gabba, but Clarke said he would rotate a number of part-timers, including himself, and utilise offspinner Nathan Lyon to give the attack a rest.

"There is a lot more grass (on the wicket) than I have ever seen at Hobart," Clarke said.

"Day one is going to be tough for the batters, especially if it is overcast, then hopefully it will turn into a pretty good wicket.

"There is probably a concern if your front line bowlers don't do the job with the new ball. It could be quite a long day but I am confident."

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon

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