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Hughes tribute before SCG Test


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Injured Australian skipper Michael Clarke paid another emotional tribute to Phil Hughes as the Sydney Test got underway, saying he has changed cricket for the better.

Hughes’ family were on hand for the start of the fourth Test against India on Tuesday, the first international game at the SCG since he was fatally struck by a bouncer at the ground.

“This was his ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground,” Clarke said in a Nine Network tribute.

“This is where he played his last game, this is where his spirit will live forever.

“I never had a blood brother but he was my brother.

“Together we enjoyed life and celebrated one another’s successes, when he made runs when I made runs.

“It felt like we make our hundreds together.

“His love of life, it helped me get out of bed in the morning, I didn’t want him to beat me at anything, yet loved it when he did.”

Hughes made his first class debut at the SCG for NSW in 2007 and played his first Test on home soil at the venue in 2010. He played his final Test at the ground in 2013.

Clarke spoke of Hughes’ resilience.

“A good guy who fought for everything he ever got and then fought some more, who never game up,” Clarke said.

“In death he brought the sporting world together, the cricket community, the game might be bigger than any individual but it stopped for Phil Hughes, it stopped in its tracks, didn’t it?

“Even today I’m still waiting for him to call.

“The cheeky little bugger, he would be up there, smiling on us now wanting us to be happy enjoying life, getting on with it.

“I will never play a Test match again without the number 408 on my shirt , Hughdog’s Test number

“The one that stopped the cricket world and changed it for the better and forever.”

Stand-in Australian captain Steve Smith said it would be a tough Test for his team.

Smith’s Australian teammates David Warner, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon were on the SCG playing in the Sheffield Shield game between NSW and South Australia when Hughes was struck down.

“It’s nice to have the series wrapped up … it’s going to be a tough week,” Smith said at the toss.

A plaque of Hughes, which is attached to the Member’s Pavilion, was unveiled at the SCG on Monday.

“It’s nice to have his spirit here with us,” Smith said.

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