Ton-up Katich, Ponting lead Aussie reply

Ton-up Katich, Ponting lead Aussie reply

Visitors spirited chase makes light of Englands healthy first innings total

Ton-up Katich, Ponting lead Aussie reply

Rock Solid: Simon Katich steadied the Australian innings with an unbeaten 53 on Thursday. AFPAt the close, Australia had reached 249 for one in reply to England's 435 all out with Ponting on 100 and Katich on 104.

Ponting, who became only the fourth player to score 11,000 Test runs, scrambled a single to reach his 38th Test hundred off the penultimate ball of the day. Katich's painstaking innings, his eighth Test century, lasted nearly 4-1/2 hours.
England captain Andrew Strauss rotated his bowlers, adjusted his fields and tried every ploy he could think of but was denied a breakthrough by the combination of a slow pitch and the skill and unremitting concentration of the two Australians.

Andrew Flintoff, returning to the team after a knee operation, took the only wicket to fall during a magnificent six-over spell immediately after lunch.

Australia opener Phillip Hughes, who scored 415 runs at 69.16 in his debut series in South Africa this year, gave a glimpse of his penchant for the unorthodox by slashing four boundaries through the off-side before lunch.

After the interval Strauss threw the ball to Flintoff and the big all-rounder responded by charging in from around the wicket from the River end and bowling four bouncers in his opening over.

Difficult chance

He regularly exceeded 145km an hour, beat Hughes several times outside the off-stump and dropped Katich on 10 from a difficult return chance low to his right hand.

Flintoff was finally rewarded when Hughes, who had scored only eight runs in 24 deliveries after lunch to reach 36, edged a catch to wicketkeeper Matt Prior who took a fine catch low to his right.

Graeme Swann, whose breezy 47 not out from 40 balls in the morning session helped push England beyond 400, bowled five maiden overs in a row from the Cathedral Road end.

But the Australian batsmen resolutely refused to take any chances with Katich content to work the ball both sides of the pitch and Ponting pushing it for singles with the occasional swift-footed pull.

James Anderson failed to get the ball to swing, Monty Panesar's left-arm spin proved innocuous and fast bowler Stuart Broad left the field for treatment on a calf strain.
At the start of the day England added 99 in 16.5 overs after resuming on 336 for seven.
Swann added 68 for the ninth wicket with James Anderson (26) and looked set to reach his second test half-century when Monty Panesar was caught at slip by Ponting off off-spinner Nathan Hauritz for four.

Score Board

ENGLAND (I innings, O/n: 336/7):

Strauss c Clarke b Johnson 30
Cook c Hussey b Hilfenhaus 10
Bopara c Hughes b Johnson 35
Pietersen c Katich b Hauritz 69
C’wood c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 64
Prior b Siddle 56
Flintoff b Siddle 37
Anderson c Hussey b Hauritz 26
Broad b Johnson 19
Swann (not out) 47
Panesar c Ponting b Hauritz 4
Extras (B-13, LB-11, NB-12, W-2) 38
Total (all out, 106.5 overs) 435
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-67, 3-90, 4-228, 5-241, 6-327, 7-329, 8-355, 9-423.
Bowling: Johnson 22-2-87-3, Hilfenhaus 27-5-77-2, Siddle 27-3-121-2, Hauritz 23.5-1-95-3, Clarke 5-0-20-0, Katich 2-0-11-0.

AUSTRALIA (I Innings):

Hughes c Prior b Flintoff 36
Katich (batting) 104
Ponting (batting) 100
Extras (LB-6, W-1, NB-2) 9     
Total (for 1 wkt, 71 overs) 249
Fall of wicket: 1-60.
Bowling: James Anderson 13-1-57-0, Stuart Broad 12-1-58-0, Graeme Swann 20-7-49-0, Andrew Flintoff 15-3-48-1, Monty Panesar 11-2-31-0.

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