The first anniversary of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes’s death was marked with a sombre, low-key observance during the first-ever day-night Test match in Adelaide on Friday.
Hughes, 25, who played 26 Tests, died from bleeding on the brain on November 27 last year after being hit on the base of the skull by a rising ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground during a domestic match.
His death — a freak accident — stunned Australia and the world cricket community, sparking an outpouring of grief.
At the request of Hughes’ family, the tributes one year on were kept simple.
Australia and New Zealand players at Adelaide Oval wore black armbands as did Sheffield Shield cricketers in their matches around Australia Friday.
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Before the start of the Test, Australia captain Steve Smith tweeted: “1 year has passed since we lost our great mate. Will be thinking of you out in the middle today as always Bruz. #63notout #408forever”.
Smith’s predecessor Michael Clarke, who described Hughes as a little brother, also tweeted: “Wish you were here #408”.
A ceremony was held in Adelaide at 4.08pm local time during the first break of play — Hughes was the 408th Australian Test cricketer.
The tribute was shown on the big video screen next to Adelaide Oval’s historic manual scoreboard which also bore a reminder of Hughes: a simple sign ‘Remembering 408’.
Australian players came out of their dressing-room to watch the three-minute televised tribute.
Smith, coach Darren Lehmann, David Warner — who was first to Hughes when he was felled — and others stood near the fence and watched a tribute which featured photos of Hughes as a boy and video highlights of his career as an Australian player.
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The Australians and the sizeable Adelaide crowd applauded after the touching tributes.
Captain Smith said his Australia team would play in the inaugural pink-ball Test with smiles on their faces.
“I think for us now a year on we still have Hughesy in the back of our minds every time we walk out on the field,” he said.
“We are going to do our best to play with a smile on our face and hopefully play well for Hughesy.”
As a result of the tragedy, Cricket Australia has boosted the medical presence at grounds and now requires all players to wear a helmet that meets stringent safety standards.
Hughes’ death is the subject of a New South Wales coroner’s inquiry, and a separate Cricket Australia review into the causes and circumstances. Both are yet to release findings.
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