SYDNEY - The death of Phillip Hughes less than six weeks ago still hung thick in the air at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday as Australia began preparations to play their first test match at the ground since.
The 25-year-old Hughes was struck in the back of the head while playing a first-class game at the SCG on Nov. 25 and died two days later from his injuries.
Cricket Australia unveiled a plaque outside the home team's dressing room on Monday to honour Hughes's life, with national captain Steven Smith indicating on Monday he would be in their thoughts as they played their fourth and final test against India, which starts on Tuesday.
"This week, it's going to be great to be able to walk past that and see the little fella there and give us a bit of inspiration as we're going out on the field," Smith told reporters at the SCG, a day before the match.
"Hughesy was one of us, he was one of our good mates. We've just got to take care of each other this week."
Several members of the national side -- David Warner, Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Shane Watson -- were playing in the game when Hughes was struck and Smith said it would be tough on them to return to the ground.
"Coming back to the place where it happened, I thought it was going to be extremely tough for the boys," Smith said."Particularly the ones that were out there on the day.
"It's going to be a tough test match... hopefully we can hold our emotions together well and end this series well."
Hughes's family are expected to travel to Sydney from their home in northern New South Wales for the test and Smith said his team were keen to ensure that they were also honoured.
"Hopefully we can do the Hughes family proud by playing well this week," he said.
"We've just got to make sure we're very respectful to the Hughes family that are going to be down here for this test match.
"That's very important to us and it's very important to them."
Australia have already won the four-match series after victories in the first two games, which were rescheduled after Hughes's death.