And the gritty left-hander with a remodelled technique has disclosed Australia's hopes to lead by at least 100 into the third day on Saturday.
Hughes, 24, confessed at stumps after he had scored 87 and fallen painfaully short of his fourth Test ton, that he never felt comfortable on the unpredictable SCG strip.
"It's doing a bit already and it's only day two," Hughes revealed.
"I thought it was quite difficult to drive as well.
"I never felt 100 percent in, even though I did get a few runs it was quite difficult in periods of my innings.
"You had to play the ball as late possible on that wicket."
Hughes said any lead is "gold" but set sights at at least 100 in front on the third after the home resumes at 6-342 with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on 47 after he was elevated to number six and tailender Peter Siddle on 15.
"It would be nice get over 100 and a few more," Hughes analysed.
"Any lead in any game is gold really, but it would be nice to get a few more.
"Wadey is batting beautifully so if the boys start well and go on."
Hughes, who was recalled to the Test team after the emotional retirement of Australian great Ricky Ponting, put on 130 for the second wicket with firebrand opener Dave Warner who also fell in the 80s on 85.
Warner looked well set for his fourth Test century when he skied an attempted bit hit down the ground into the in-field and was out after a blistering run-a-ball start including 10 fours.
Hughes hit nine fours among the 143 balls he faced during his second score in the 80s since his recall against Sri Lanka.
He made 86 in his first innings back down in Hobart after a full year in the wilderness as he rebuilt his technique to be stronger around his off-stump.
Hughes was dumped after four successive failures against New Zealand last summer and scores of 10, 7, 4 and 20.