At last an opening partnership worth remembering, and a good way to start this Test. Probably the first time since Simon and Phil Jaques' 200 run partnership against the West-Indies last year that we had such a dominant stand out there!
4/303 at the close of play? I am handing the day to us, despite a good session of play from The Proteas towards the end of of the day.
The best thing about Phil Hughes, besides his at times bizarre and extraordinary cricket strokes, is his focus, level headed coolness and competitive attitude. Mikey Arthur was pretty bold in his statements that they'd contain Hughes and Marcus North...bit of a backfire I think on his part as Phil played an entertaining opening stand to get his maiden century, in only his 3rd innings. To be honest I am not surprised. He pleaded the pace attack of Arthurs men to attack him, to come at him hard and aggressively as it was how he gets his competitive edge.
Simply, it's how he likes to play his game. So well done Phil on that achievement. The highlight of the innings is obvious. 2 sixes in a row blasted off Paul Harris to the deep mid on boundary to highlight an epic innings and bring up Phil's maiden century! Classy, and Phil won the battle, as I saw there was a bit of a verbal out there from Harris directed at him. He played some ferocious straight drives, powered cut shots and some clever crafting strokes to nudge the singles amongst his 19 fours and 2 sixes!
Simon Katich (108) didn't play one of his classier innings and escaped a fair deal of luck on his part, but still brought up another century, right after a poor start to the series and expectations upon him to make a ton. The opening stand 184 set the tone perfectly! The boundaries were in the running and I liked the way the guys went aggressively at the Proteas bowlers!
Ricky Ponting didn't set a good example out there, and lost his cool very quickly. Shocker for him, which was unnecessary and gave the Proteas the bit of ambition needed. Michael Clarke had a dud out there being bowled playing a forgettable forward defensive, and Michael Hussey had a referral go his way after a bit of an edgy start.
Good news though is we have ended the day on top. 4/303 is a very strong position to be in. Marcus North is out there on 17*, while Huss is on 37*.
My thoughts on day 2's passage of play? Well, I'd be looking to settle this partnership for the two WA boys, and try steer the total to 350 plus.
This leaves a passage of play to get the total close to 400 plus, ideally 450 again, which will put us in a position where we will be in a solid position for the bowlers to do their job with runs from their batsman to settle the confidence.
Brad Haddin and Andrew MacDonald, who has not yet stamped authority with the bat, as well as Mitchell Johnson are highly capable of making some runs to ensure we get those required 150 runs. That is how I'd be looking at the position, especially with Huss having some runs behind his name and some confidence.
So, 150 runs will be the run countdown in my mind as a target to work for, with the additional batsmen in tact, being 6 wickets.
If not...just get the damn score to 400 after that opening stand.
Top stuff from Phil and Simon, was a great start to this first Test. Let's make day 2 for the Baggy Green as well.
Oh yes referrals...resources still need better utilisation in my opinion.