Chris Martin comes back to torment Hughes
Chris Martin, the New Zealand pace bowler who condemned Phillip Hughes to another year on the sidelines, has heaped pressure on the Australian batsman as he attempts to revive his test career against Sri Lanka in Hobart.
Martin had Hughes caught four times in as many innings during New Zealand's drawn two-test series on tour a year ago, the last two dismissals at Bellerive Oval quickly followed by the opening batsman's expulsion from the team.
"I was just bowling the same ball each time and he kept finding a way to nick it to the cordon," the 38-year-old Martin said in comments published by News Ltd websites on Wednesday.
"His recollections of his dismissals would be nightmarish, but we tried to keep it simple.
"To be honest, I felt a bit sorry for Phil Hughes in Hobart because a lot of the focus was that he kept nicking off and was under pressure for his spot.
"In those situations, you never like seeing a guy playing for his career."
The 24-year-old Hughes, whose nicks off Martin all flew behind the wicket to Martin Guptill in remarkable symmetry, will face his demons on a traditionally lively pitch that has seen state sides skittled cheaply in the domestic Sheffield Shield.
The left-hander on Tuesday declared himself a much better batsman than the flighty incarnation of a year ago, having worked hard on improving his technique and compiled a mountain of runs for his adopted South Australia state.
Martin warned the pint-sized opener to beware of Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Kulasekara.
"He bowls a good outswinger to the left-hander so that could test him," he said.
"After you get a guy a couple of times, you know he is watchful of you. You don't expect to get a guy out the same way four times, but if you get the ball in the same areas again, you can get them out."
Martin also said the unfancied Sri Lanka, still chasing their first test win Down Under, could upset Australia in Hobart, in the same way New Zealand edged the hosts to level their two-test series 1-1 last year.
"The Sri Lankan attack have parallels to our (New Zealand's) bowlers," Martin added. "If they turn up with some very simple plans and execute them, the Hobart wicket will definitely help them, it did for us."
The first test starts on Friday, with the series heading to Melbourne on Dec. 26 before the third and final test begins in Sydney on January 3.