Hussey leads Australian fightback in Ashes opener

Hussey leads Australian fightback in Ashes opener

Hussey leads Australian fightback in Ashes opener

The veteran left-hander dispelled doubts over his place in the team after a lean trot to spearhead Australia's fightback following the loss of four wickets in the post-lunch session.

When rain forced play to be abandoned at 4:45 pm (0645 GMT), Australia were 220 for five with Hussey unbeaten on 81 and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin not out 22.

Hussey showed the beneficial effects of his restorative 118 for Western Australia in the leadup Sheffield Shield game last weekend to carry on his form renaissance with an enterprising knock of 13 fours and a six off 144 balls.

The 35-year-old campaigner survived a near catch in the slips off his first ball to share in an unbroken 77-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Haddin to refuel Australia's charge after England's first innings 260.

Hussey blunted the English push after Australia had been rocked by the loss of four wickets after lunch to slump to 143 for five.

Pacemen Steve Finn and James Anderson were England's heroes bowling the tourists back into contention straight after lunch.

Anderson claimed the prized wicket of master batsman Ricky Ponting for 10 with the second ball after lunch.

Ponting attempted to glance down the leg-side only to get a fine edge to Matt Prior.
It was a massive wicket for England with Ponting averaging 66.44 in his 14 Tests at the Gabba and who set up the last Ashes series down under four years ago when he scored 196 in the first innings of the corresponding Test.

Finn produced a spectacular return catch to dismiss opener Simon Katich off his bowling for 50.

The young Middlesex quick flung his giant frame to the ground to take a sprawling return catch in the 37th over.

It was Katich's 25th half-century in 55 Tests and his fourth against England.

Michael Clarke struggled for fluency throughout his 50-ball stay at the crease before his fitful innings came to an end on nine when he attempted a pull shot off Finn only to top edge a catch to Prior.

Clarke had been suffering back trouble before being cleared to play in the Ashes opener.
It was Prior's 100th Test dismissal -- 96 catches and four stumpings -- in his 36th Test match.

The inconsistent Marcus North lasted just eight balls for one before he prodded forward and edged offspinner Graeme Swann to Paul Collingwood at slip leaving Australia at 143 for five in the 53rd over.

It was the fourth time Swann had taken the wicket of the West Australian left-hander in Tests.

At stumps, Finn had 2-61 off 15 overs and Anderson 2-40 off 21 overs. Australia only lost the wicket of Shane Watson in the morning session after resuming at 25 without loss.
Watson beat off an England referral for lbw but he was out to Anderson's next ball when he edged to Andrew Strauss at first slip for 36.

England have not won the Brisbane Test since Mike Gatting's team prevailed by seven wickets six tours ago, on the way to their last Australian series victory in 1986/87.

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