A dominant 189 run partnership between Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich swung the pendulum firmly in Australia’s favour in day 2 of the First npower Ashes Test, Cardiff.
England amassed an extra 99 runs in the morning session before finally being bowled out for 435. Australia’s start was electric, with Phil Hughes hitting a run a ball 30 before lunch. Andrew Flintoff eventually had him caught behind, but after that the play was all Australia as Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting hit centuries as Australia ended the day on 249-1, trailing England’s total by 186.
England’s start to the day was very positive. Beginning on 336/7 Stuart Broad struck two delightful fours off Peter Siddle, one a scorcher past mid off. The Nottinghamshire man met an unlucky end to his innings, a ball from Mitchell Johnson hit the underside of his thigh pad and dragged back onto his stumps.
Broad’s demise didn’t stem the scoring however, Graham Swann looked to be forceful, and keep the scoreboard ticking over, night-watchman James Anderson also got in on the act as the pair pushed three’s to the long square boundaries at the SWALEC Stadium. The positivity forced Ricky Ponting to spread sweepers on both the square boundary.
England’s aggression forced the Australian skipper to bring on Nathan Hauritz. And no doubt to the delight of batsman Graham Swann – an no doubt all of the England camp, Hauritz’s first ball spun sharply off the pitch, past the keeper for four byes.
Undeterred, Swann went after Hauritz – striking two consecutive boundaries down the ground followed by an audacious reverse sweep that went to the third man boundary. Swann and Anderson’s 50 run partnership coming up in just 38 balls as England were racing along at 7 an over in the morning session.
James Anderson fell trying to hit Hauritz over the top, and Monty Panesar after struggling for a short while, eventually edging the off-spinner to Ricky Ponting a gully.
Phil Hughes got off to a flyer at the beginning of the Australian innings, Stuart Broad imparticular on the receiving end of Hughes’ aggression as Australia made it to 39-0 in a short spell before the lunch break.
Immediately after lunch Andrew Flintoff was bought into the attack bowling around the wicket to Hughes. The over was lively, short pitched, but to Hughes’ credit – he evaded the short ball well.
A short while later Flintoff forced opener Simon Katich to punt one back at him, he stuck his giant claw in the direction of the ball, and agonisingly for him and for England, the ball popped out and down to the ground.
But the breakthrough finally came when Flintoff had Hughes get an inside edge through to ‘keeper Matt Prior who took a smart catch diving away to his right – Hughes departing for 36.
In the following over Stuart Broad had close LBW appeals against both Katich and Ricky Ponting. Katich got a feather of an inside edge on his, and Ponting had himself well outside the line of the off stump – but Broad, England and the fans, were defiantly fired up.
The pair settled in for the afternoon session, as England turned to both spinners Graham Swann and Monty Panesar without fortune. On the stroke of tea Ponting scored a 2 off Broad to take himself to 11,001 test runs – joining the select group of Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Allan Border.
Simon Katich went past 50 as Australia reached 143-1 at tea, the Flintoff/Hughes battle aside – Australia’s session.
It was much of the same after the break, the pair bought up their 100 partnership of 179 balls. Andrew Strauss tried every option available to him, but Ponting and Katich stood firm as Australia bought the 200 up. The run rate continued at 3.5 an over and England struggled to get any movement with the ball, or much life out of the pitch.
On the stroke of stumps Simon Katich bought up his hundred off 214 balls, and Ponting likewise off 155 balls. Australia ended the day in a dominant position – only 1 wicket down, and trailing by only 186 runs.
No comments yet.