Phillip Hughes described scoring back-to-back centuries in the second Test against South Africa in Durban as a ‘very special moment’ after helping Australia move into a position of total command.
The 20-year-old opener became the youngest player to score tons in both innings of a Test match since West Indian George Headley achieved the feat against England 79 years ago.
The New South Wales batsman was unbeaten on 136 when his side reached stumps on day three at 3-292, an overall lead of 506.
“It’s a very special moment,” Hughes said afterwards. “Something I’ll never forget and I’m just really excited.”
On day one, he made 115 in very quick time, bringing up his century with consecutive sixes off Paul Harris, but he admitted his innings the second time around was much tougher on a difficult pitch.
He added: “Today I thought Harris bowled beautifully into the rough, a few balls spitting here and there, and going everywhere really.”
“I knew if I just kept going and batting there was a big one for the taking. I had to be very patient and just a few overs here and there sit on him. It was great.”
“Every day is different and today I had to grind it out, tough it out. I was determined not to give it away after I got a start.”
South Africa is now staring a series defeat in the face after losing the first Test by 162 runs.
Things will be even more difficult for it after Graeme Smith was ruled out for the rest of the match, and possibly the next one, with a broken finger in his right hand.
However, JP Duminy, who made 73 not out in the Proteas’ first innings, is confident it can still come fighting back.
He said: “We are a bit run down but we have the character to come back with a good performance tomorrow.”
“If we come out with a positive attitude, who knows what might happen. Gary Kirsten scored 275 here to save a test against England and we have the capability to do that.”
“We have the top five, and Mark Boucher, to cope with the situation.”