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Historic tons for Hughes
Rookie enters the record books as Australia hit massive 506-run advantage in Durban.
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2009 18:25 GMT

Phillip Hughes slots nicely into the hole left by Matthew Hayden [AFP]
Australia captain Ricky Ponting heaped praise on record-breaking teammate Phillip Hughes on Sunday after the 20-year-old batsman's second century in the second Test against South Africa.

Hughes, who hit 136 not out as Australia finished on 292-3 to extend their lead to 506 runs at stumps on the third day, also hit 115 in the first innings.

He became the youngest player in history to score a century in each innings of a Test.

Australia dismissed the Proteas in the first over of the day on their overnight score of 138, but despite leading by 214 runs did not enforce the follow-on.

Keeping it simple

"(Phillip) keeps it very simple but he's very talented,'' Ponting said.

"He's a little bit unorthodox. He's had to deal with plenty of bumpers and short stuff, and he's managed well.''

Ponting added that the key difference between the Australian side which lost a home series to South Africa recently and this one was consistency of performance from most players since the first Test in Johannesburg.

"(Ben) Hilfenhaus, (Peter) Siddle and (Mitchell) Johnson were great in Johannesburg,'' Ponting said.

"We have a big lead here, and those guys will have to stand up again.''

Ponting said he would probably bat for an hour on Monday unless conditions were really overcast in the morning, in which case he would declare immediately.

Hughes, whose Test career started with a four-ball duck in the first Test at the Wanderers, has since followed with scores of 75, 115 and 136 not out.

He played a more sedate innings of 301 balls on Sunday than his first-innings century, reaping 13 fours, plus smacking two sixes off spinner Paul Harris once he had reached three figures.

Never the showman, Ponting is slowing hitting himself into the record books [AFP]
Big hitting Ponting

Hughes, who eclipsed the record previously held by West Indian batsman George Headley, has banished thoughts Australia would battle to find a replacement for the recently retired Matthew Hayden.

Hughes has looked composed against one of the better attacks in the world, even if they have been wayward at times, and he has scored heavily on his favoured offside, particularly behind square.

Hughes added 164 with Ponting (81) in 48.3 overs for the second wicket, a partnership lasting more than two sessions which took the game away from the hosts.

Ponting himself celebrated a notable batting achievement when he became the fourth highest run-scorer in Test cricket Sunday.

When he had scored 61, Ponting, then on 10,928 runs in his 130th Test, overtook retired compatriot Steve Waugh.

Ahead of him are India's Sachin Tendulkar on 12,429 from 156 Tests, the West Indies' retired Brian Lara on 11,953 from 131 Tests, and former Australian captain Allan Border on 11,174 from 156 Tests.

Ponting has now scored 10,948 runs.

Slow pitch

There seemed to be less life in the pitch than Saturday, when a total of 13 wickets fell for just 129 runs. Ponting and Hughes were able to maintain a scoring rate of around four an over during their partnership.

Ponting drove and pulled with precision, hitting 12 fours, but was caught at deep square-leg for the second time in the game when he hooked Morne Morkel straight to Neil McKenzie.

Earlier, Australia took only three balls to end South Africa's first innings and fast bowler Peter Siddle claimed the remaining two wickets.

First, he induced Dale Steyn on 8 to edge to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin off the second ball of the morning. He then trapped Makhaya Ntini in front next ball.

The not out batsman was J.P. Duminy on 73.

Injured South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who fractured his right little finger after being hit by Johnson on Saturday, did not come out to bat again.

Simon Katich was the more aggressive of the two Australian left-handed openers, hitting three fours and a six to score 30 before being dismissed with the total on 55.

He pushed at a delivery from Jacques Kallis, who was playing with a right hand injury and stitches in his chin after being hit in the face on Saturday, to be caught by Harris in the gully.

Source:
Agencies
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