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

Life moves on though as a prolonged period of mourningwas never an option, so it was with a certain amount of numbness but no lack ofdetermination that the Australian Test team took to the field to renew old acquaintancesand 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 thoseparticularly close to Hughes’ family), but it did not seem that way on thefirst day as the famous green and gold colours batted first. This mattered tothe Australian players, who were resolute in their desire to make this acompetitive cricket match and not purely an exhibition. So it seemed entirelyappropriate that Hughes’ close friend, the opener David Warner, who had beenplaying in the match at the SCG when the tragedy occurred, should play such afine knock in his honour. India for their part showed their attacking instinctsby delivering a bouncer at Warner to indicate that the delivery is still verymuch a weapon in the game of cricket going forward.

As Warner hit his 63rd run, the crowdresponded with both applause but also to hold up their ’63 not out’ banners andplacards. It went pretty much as hoped for Warner in his innings as he not onlyscored a wonderful century (which he later dedicated to Hughes or “the littleman up there” as he referenced him) but ended up with 145 runs before finallyfalling, as the Aussies looked in a commanding overnight position on 354-6. Heshared his century moment appropriately with the Aussie captain Michael Clarkebeing at the other end and the two hugged on the pitch, no doubt congratulatingeach other on a job (and tribute) well done. Clarke himself made 60 beforeretiring injured.

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

Elsewhere in Sydney at the SCG, the equally tragic bowlerof that fatal delivery, Sean Abbott took his first steps back in cricket in thestarting line up for the state match against Queensland. The crowd showed theirappreciation by warmly applauding him into the attack. Showing tremendouscharacter he not only picked up two wickets but also delivered a bouncer in hisvery first over to ensure no lingering issues for his future career goingforward.

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

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