Australia return to SCG for first time since Phillip Hughes death

Australia may have sealed the four-Test series against India but the final match in Sydney could prove the most emotionally taxing for the hosts as they return to the venue where Phillip Hughes was fatally struck by a bouncer last month.
David Warner of Australia looks up to the sky in tribute to the late Phillip Hughes after making his half century during day four of the First Test match between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 12, 2014 in Adelaide. Michael Dodge/Getty Images
David Warner of Australia looks up to the sky in tribute to the late Phillip Hughes after making his half century during day four of the First Test match between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 12, 2014 in Adelaide. Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Australia may have sealed the four-Test series against India but the final match in Sydney could prove the most emotionally taxing for the hosts as they return to the venue where Phillip Hughes was fatally struck by a bouncer last month.

Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon, Shane Watson and David Warner were fielding at the Sydney Cricket Ground when Hughes sustained the sickening blow to his neck, never regaining consciousness and eventually passing away three days before his 26th birthday.

Australia did well to take an unassailable 2-0 lead against India with the tragedy still fresh in the players' minds and coach Darren Lehmann is in no doubt that emotion will run high as they return to Sydney for the fourth Test starting on Tuesday.

“I'm sure it's in the back of their minds and everyone's minds around Australia,” Lehmann said. “For us we've just got to get on with playing the game as best we can.

“I actually don't know how they'll react, we have to see how we react.

“We've got to have a couple days off now and try to get through that over the next few days.”

Warner said Hughes's passing continued to affect his life.

“It's going to be in the back of my mind every time I play,” the hard-hitting opener said.

“Every time I sit at home and I'm thinking about nothing but that. We've got to keep pushing on. He'd want us to do that.”

Apart from being in control of their emotions, Lehmann also wants his team to improve their fielding, especially catching, in Sydney.

The butter-fingered hosts dropped both Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in India's first innings in Melbourne, allowing them to post career-best scores in a 262-run partnership.

“Shoddy at best,” was how Lehmann described the fielding in Melbourne. “We've done a lot of work and I can't complain about the work ethic from the lads, but the big one's that cost us were the first innings.

“It's not volume or practice, they're very good at that. It's probably more confidence to be honest.”

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Published: December 31, 2014 04:00 AM

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