|Scorecard:||Northamptonshire v Australians|
|Player:||PJ Hughes, SR Watson, MEK Hussey, DH Wigley|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2009|
DateLine: 25th July 2009
Out-of-touch opener Phil Hughes again failed as Australia reached 231-3 on a rain-affected opening day against Northamptonshire.
His potential replacement as an opener for the third Ashes Test, Shane Watson, though made his chances even brighter with an aggressive innings of 84.
The game was cut short by 30 overs because of intermittent showers but Watson, who was making his first appearance since June's World Twenty20 because of a thigh injury, took up the oppurtunity and made full use.
Watson came in at number three after Hughes again fell cheaply to David Wigley. The aggressive right-hander did not need the defensive technique of a Test opener against a largely second-string Northamptonshire seam attack.
He hit 15 fours and a six and dominated a 99-run third-wicket partnership with stand-in captain Mike Hussey (75no).
He fell attempting to dab runs from an arm ball to give slow left-armer Graeme White his only first-class wicket of the summer.
Hughes on the other hand again looked vulnerable to bounce outside off-stump and fell with 10 runs to his name.
After Hussey won the toss and chose to bat first, Hughes started well with a cover-drive for four off Wigley from the first ball of the match and then crashed another off-side boundary against David Lucas at the pavilion end.
But then Wigley had the last laugh as he surprised the left-hander from short of a length and round the wicket and Hughes was only able to loop a catch to gully off the splice.
Watson had a little extra pressure to deal with after left-armer David Willey got one to leave Simon Katich and take the edge for a routine caught behind.
Hussey then just missed an immediate action replay, facing his first ball. But with forecast rain eventually bringing an early lunch, Watson had already twice cashed in with crashing pulls for four when debutant seamer Jack Brooks dropped short.
The other remainder of the day was stop-start, but Watson looked not a bit worried and brought up his half-century with a resounding off-drive for four off Wigley.
His only misdemeanour came with a ridiculous call for a single which would have seen Hussey run out on 12 out of 107 for two, had Brooks' throw from his follow-through trickled into rather than past the stumps.
Watson's fall brought Marcus North on the pitch and he stiched 84 runs alongside HUssey for the fourth wicket.