Hobart, Dec 14: Michael Clarke's prolific run with the bat in 2012 continued as he made an unbeaten 70 to help Australia reach a comfortable 299/4 against Sri Lanka on the opening day of the first Test here on Friday.
Clarke's 70 not out combined with comeback man Phil Hughes' 86 took the home team to a position of strength. However, they were in a spot of bother at 198/4 when Hughes fell but Michael Hussey and Clarke associated for unbroken 101-run partnership to make it Australia's day.
Captain Clarke won the toss and chose to bat. David Warner made 57 before being run out after a mix-up with Hughes.
Opener Ed Cowan was dismissed cheaply for 4 as Australia were 18/1 in 5.3 overs.
Left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara was the pick of Sri Lanka bowlers with 3/99 in 20 overs. He was the only bowler to take wickets on first day.
Sri Lanka, after 80 overs, took the second new ball but Clarke and Hussey played out the remaining 10 overs in the day. Hussey is batting on 37.
Clarke, with over 1,400 runs this year, continued his rich vein of form. His 70 contained seven fours and the right-hander faced 130 balls.
Left-handed Hughes impressed in his return to Test cricket. He took 166 balls for his 86 and hit eight boundaries and a six. Hughes came into the Test side as a replacement for the retired Ricky Ponting.
Shane Watson, batting at number four, made 30. He hit three fours in 61-ball stay.