Australia’s delayed Test Series against India began today in Adelaide with the thoughts of the Cricket mad nation still lingering on the tragic death of their former international batsman, Phillip Hughes. The talented 25-year old was struck a fatal blow from a bouncer only a few weeks ago and the whole country has been united in their sense of loss at his passing at such a tender age ever since.

Life moves on though as a prolonged period of mourning was never an option, so it was with a certain amount of numbness but no lack of determination that the Australian Test team took to the field to renew old acquaintances and take on the rest of the world’s cricket might again (in the form of India). Perhaps cricket itself is secondary at present to many (especially those particularly close to Hughes’ family), but it did not seem that way on the first day as the famous green and gold colours batted first. This mattered to the Australian players, who were resolute in their desire to make this a competitive cricket match and not purely an exhibition. So it seemed entirely appropriate that Hughes’ close friend, the opener David Warner, who had been playing in the match at the SCG when the tragedy occurred, should play such a fine knock in his honour. India for their part showed their attacking instincts by delivering a bouncer at Warner to indicate that the delivery is still very much a weapon in the game of cricket going forward.

As Warner hit his 63rd run, the crowd responded with both applause but also to hold up their ’63 not out’ banners and placards. It went pretty much as hoped for Warner in his innings as he not only scored a wonderful century (which he later dedicated to Hughes or “the little man up there” as he referenced him) but ended up with 145 runs before finally falling, as the Aussies looked in a commanding overnight position on 354-6. He shared his century moment appropriately with the Aussie captain Michael Clarke being at the other end and the two hugged on the pitch, no doubt congratulating each other on a job (and tribute) well done. Clarke himself made 60 before retiring injured.

Their innings followed on from a poignant and heartfelt message from the voice of Australian cricket, the legendary Richie Benaud, followed by a 63 second round of applause from the spectators and players alike in the ground. A fitting tribute to the man who was struck while 63 not out in his final innings.

Elsewhere in Sydney at the SCG, the equally tragic bowler of that fatal delivery, Sean Abbott took his first steps back in cricket in the starting line up for the state match against Queensland. The crowd showed their appreciation by warmly applauding him into the attack. Showing tremendous character he not only picked up two wickets but also delivered a bouncer in his very first over to ensure no lingering issues for his future career going forward.

One somehow feels that the affable Hughes would have been smiling down on his fellow Aussies today.

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