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Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:21 UK

Hughes finds form for Australia

Tour Match: Northamptonshire v Australia (day two close):
Australia 308-8d & 139-0 v Northants 226-7d
Match scorecard

Phillip Hughes
Australia opener Hughes has struggled with the bat since the Ashes started

Opener Phillip Hughes finally showed some form with the bat as Australia opened up a 221-run lead on day two of their tour match against Northants.

Resuming on 231-3, Shane Watson (84) and Mike Hussey (75no) both impressed before Australia declared on 308-8.

Peter Siddle, Stuart Clark and Watson then shared seven wickets but Mitchell Johnson's problems continued as Northants posted 226-7 declared.

Hughes (65no) and Andrew McDonald (69no) then shared a stand of 139.

But Hughes could still find his place under threat while Johnson is another who will nervously await the announcement of the Australia team to face England at Edgbaston for the third Test.

I've sat on the sidelines and watched, and it's been pretty hard to do that for two Test matches

Stuart Clark

If either or both are dropped then Clark and Watson appear most likely to come in, especially given their performances at Northampton.

Hughes hit some fine if eccentric shots but still looked vulnerable to the short ball, while Johnson could only reflect on a hapless spell of seven wicketless overs for 42 runs.

If Johnson is dropped then Clark is ready to take over and put the disappointment of missing out on selection at Cardiff and at Lord's.

Clark appeared to put himself in the frame for Cardiff after battling back from an elbow injury but has so far failed to feature in the series which Australia trail 1-0 after defeat at Lord's.

"I was disappointed and I suppose surprised," said Clark, at being left out of the team in Cardiff.

"I was not given any guarantee I was going to play, and the selectors went with a combination they thought would get them 20 wickets.


"If given the opportunity to play again, it is an Australian cricketer's dream to play Test cricket against England in England.

"I've sat on the sidelines and watched, and it's been pretty hard to do that for two Test matches. I may have to watch for the next three - but I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I control my destiny."

Number six Marcus North is another member of the Australian side who could come under threat from Watson, and his cause was not helped when he only added seven to his overnight 32.

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see also
Watson makes case for Ashes spot
24 Jul 09 |  Northants
Sledging edict 'blunts Aussies'
23 Jul 09 |  Australia
Lee doubtful for Edgbaston Test
23 Jul 09 |  Australia
Flintoff inspires England victory
20 Jul 09 |  England
Australia visit excites Northants
21 Jul 09 |  Northants

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