It’s been exactly two weeks since cricketer Phillip Hughes was fatally hit by a bouncing ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Today, the Australian team returned to the pitch today for the first time since the tragedy occurred, playing India in the opening test at Adelaide Oval.
Their shirts were branded with Hughes’ baggy green number, 408, and 63 seconds of beautiful applause rang out as they entered the oval; in memory of the 63 runs Hughes had made at the time of his injury. Yesterday, Hughes was named at “13th man” for the test.
Sean Abbott, the man who tragically bowled the ball that killed Hughes, also made an emotional return to the cricket pitch, bowling four overs in the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Queensland at the SCG.
Here are three of the most poignant moments from today’s games, as the nation remembers Phillip Hughes.
Moment #1: Phillip Hughes Tribute
Before the Test match got underway, an emotive tribute for Hughes echoed around Adelaide Oval. Each player on the field donned a black armband embroidered with Hughes’ number as a memorial video played. 84-year-old cricket legend Richie Bernard was not on the field, but he delivered some stirring words as he officially introduced Australia’s summer of cricket.
He described Hughes as “his father’s best mate, son, brother, fighter, friend, inspiration” and cricket as part of the Australian way of life. “Cricket, cricket has so many meanings to so many Australians. It’s become precisely that – an Australian way of life. What a life it is,” he said. “From beach cricket to brothers, sisters, mums and dads, to schoolboys and the beginning of mateships.”
Instead of a minute’s silence, the crowd clapped for 63 seconds in memory of Phillip Hughes.
Moment #2: Sean Abbott’s Bouncer
Cricketer Sean Abbott, who bowled the bouncer that tragically struck Hughes, returned to the pitch at the SCG to represent NSW. His fifth bowl was a bouncer, the first he had bowled since Hughes’ death.In spite of the freak accident, which took Hughes’ life, the NSW team have resolved to keep playing as normal. Today was an important step for Abbott in regaining his confidence, and the whole country wishes him all the best.
Moment #3: David Warner’s Salute
Back at the Adelaide Oval, the first Australian batsman for the day, David Warner, solemnly raised his bat towards the sky in a silent tribute to his fallen team mate when he reached a half century. Warner, who rallied next to Hughes’ bedside until his untimely death, faced his first bouncer in the fourth over. There have been concerns within the cricket community about bouncers – which are intended to intimidate batsmen – but the crowd applauded the ball and commentator, Mike Hussey labelled it a “really good bouncer”. Warner also gazed upwards after reaching 63 runs, a number now symbolic throughout the cricket community.
David Warner looks up in honour to Phillip Hughes as he makes 63 runs.
Rest in peace, Phillip Hughes. 63 and never out. What moments remembering Phillip Hughes have resonated with you?
Want more? Try this: Phillip Hughes has been remembered as “a laid-back, fun-filled, happy man”.