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Australia A tour: five magic moments

Highlights of the recently completed series

The Australia A tour of the nation’s north has come to an end with Phil Hughes capping off a memorable six weeks with another double-century.

While there were a number of amazing individual performances on show, we’ve gone through and picked out the top five:

Hughes scores record double

In what was to be the first of two double-centuries for Phil Hughes on the Australia A tour, the left-hander smashed 202no off 151 balls to become the first Australian male to pass 200 in a one-day match.

Hughes smashed the South Africa A attack to all parts of the Marrara Cricket Ground in a knock that he dedicated to his grandfather who passed away a week earlier.

Initially, it wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the national one-day squad for the tour of Zimbabwe, but an injury to Shane Watson on the weekend ensured the 25-year-old Hughes would get another chance to prove himself at the top level.

He said: "When you've got wickets in the shed and around 15 overs to go, you've really got the license to push the game forward and today was just one of those days," Hughes told cricket.com.au at the time.

"I suppose it just panned out like that and hopefully there are more days like that to come."

West is best at AB Field

Cricket fans were given a glimpse into the future with a record-breaking partnership between Western Australian duo Sam Whiteman and Mitch Marsh in the first four-day match of the tour against India A.

The young pair combined for the second highest 7th wicket partnership in the history of first-class cricket with their 371-run stand at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field.

It was the start of an impressive tour from Marsh, with the allrounder also producing some scintillating bowling spells that led to his inclusion in Australia’s ODI squad for this month’s tri-series.

He said: “(My career) has certainly been up and down. My focus over the next 12 months, and especially over the last six months, has been to try and stay on the park and get as fit as I can,” Marsh said after his double-century.

“Fingers crossed the body can stay good and I can keep progressing as a player and as a person, and keep going well hopefully.”

Whiteman’s screamer in Brisbane

While Whiteman showed his ability with the bat on his way to a maiden first-class ton in his partnership with Marsh, it was his glovework that would have excited fans around the country.

The 22-year-old took a stunning catch down the leg-side to remove India A’s Robin Uthappa during the opening match of the tour, leading to some lofty praise from wicketkeeping legend Ian Healy

With Brad Haddin not getting any younger, Whiteman provides hope that the nation’s keeping future is in safe hands when the time comes.

He said: “When you’re talented and you’ve got that mentality, then his performance will improve almost immediately,” Healy told cricket.com.au in Brisbane.

Young guns upset the big dogs

The quadrangular one-day series in Darwin appeared certain to be a three-way race between Australia A, India A and South Africa A. Cricket Australia’s National Performance Squad had other ideas.

After a spirited performance against the South Africans in the series opener, the NPS shocked their more experienced opponents with a 52-run thumping that came with a bonus point.

It was an all-round performance from the future stars, but reigning Steve Waugh Medallist Sean Abbott stood up to the challenge with three wickets and a quick-fire 33.

He said: “We had the belief coming into this game that we could cause an upset,” NPS skipper Jordan Silk said after play.

Ojha makes himself at home

Michael Di Venuto jokingly referred to AB Field as ‘Naman Ojha Field’ following the stunning run of form displayed by the India A keeper-batsman in the two four-day matches in Brisbane.

With scores of 219 not out, 101 not out and 110 from his three innings in the tour, Ojha had no trouble adjusting to the Australian conditions on a beautiful batting deck in Albion.

Given India’s struggles with the bat during the Test series in England, Ojha may be called upon for a repeat performance during the Commonwealth Bank Test Series starting back in Brisbane later this year.

He said: “I can play as a batsman, that’s not a problem,” Ojha told cricket.com.au in Brisbane.

“Selection is not in my hands. I am really happy that I have performed well, (I’ve been) given an opportunity and I have done well in Australia.”