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Divide on show at Hughes inquest

AAP logoAAP 14/10/2016 Rebekah Ison

Nearly two years after his death, the family of Phillip Hughes entered this week hopeful that something positive would come out of the inquest.

Five days later, they left the Coroner's Court in Sydney seething over the evidence from cricketers and Cricket Australia.

The cracks between the family and the cricket fraternity seemed to widen with each day over questions about bowling tactics and sledging on that fateful day.

Hughes died two days after he was struck in the neck by a bouncer from bowler Sean Abbott during a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG on November 25, 2014.

At the inquest, the family shook their heads, openly wept and seemed to mouth expletives during evidence by players and CA staff.

As the barrister for CA and the players, Bruce Hodgkinson SC, on Friday dismissed their suggestions NSW bowler Doug Bollinger said "I am going to kill you" on the day Hughes was fatally struck, the Hughes family exited the court.

In a written statement to the inquest, Hughes' friend and former Tasmanian cricketer Matthew Day said Bollinger told him of the sledge directed at Hughes or his batting partner Tom Cooper at an event after the Test batsman died.

"I can't believe I said that," Day recalled Bollinger saying.

"I've said things like that in the past but I'm never going to say that again."

Hughes' brother Jason says Cooper told him of the sledge.

He shook his head as the South Australian batsman and pallbearer at Hughes' funeral denied the comments on Tuesday.

Counsel assisting Kristina Stern SC has submitted it would be unnecessary for State Coroner Michael Barnes to make a finding on sledging.

She also says there is no evidence the nature of play before the incident exacerbated the injury.

The Hughes family is concerned Phillip, who was delivered nine consecutive short balls before he was hit, was targeted by ungentlemanly bowling.

But every NSW player to take the stand, including Australian vice captain David Warner, could not recall any specific plan made at lunch to increase the number of short balls delivered to Hughes.

Barrister for the Hughes family Greg Melick SC said their evidence was unreliable because statements had first been taken 18 to 22 months after the event.

"I don't think he was anxious," Warner said via audio visual link from South Africa on Tuesday.

"I think just on the day, it was an error of judgement."

Abbott, who had not spoken publicly about the death before the inquest, was not required to give oral evidence.

In a written statement, he said the day started off unremarkably but ended with him in a daze.

"After Phillip was struck, I saw him start to sway," Abbott said in the statement dated September.

"I ran to the other side of the pitch and I held the right side of his head with my left hand."

It took about an hour to get Hughes to hospital.

But an earlier arrival wouldn't have mattered because no intervention could have saved Hughes, the inquest has heard.

Mr Barnes opened the inquest by acknowledging the Hughes family's grief.

"It is important to remember that Phillip Hughes was, before anything else, a son and a brother," he said.

"I ... can only hope that the answers the inquest may provide and the improved safety that may result justifies the distress these proceedings may cause."

Findings are expected to be handed down on November 4.

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