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Ponting, Katich lead Australian fightback

AUSTRALIA battled hard against some accurate England bowling yesterday to reach 142 for one at tea in its first innings on the second day of the first Ashes test in Cardiff.

After a bright opening session during which Graeme Swann (47 not out) propelled England to 435 all out, Australia consolidated after the loss of Phillip Hughes for 36.

Captain Ricky Ponting became the fourth batsman to pass 11,000 test runs on his way to 44 not out and Simon Katich ground out 53 in 2-1/2 hours at the crease.

The two most vivid passages of play came immediately before and after the lunch interval.

Hughes, making his Ashes debut, slashed four boundaries to reach 28 from 30 balls before the break.

England captain Andrew Strauss responded by calling up Andrew Flintoff from the River end after lunch and his quickest bowler delivered six overs of high pace and relentless hostility.

Bowling from around the wicket at the two left-handers, Flintoff bowled four bouncers at Hughes in his first over. He regularly exceeded 145 kilometers an hour and dropped Katich on 10 when he failed to hold on to a difficult return catch low to his right hand.

Hughes had added only eight more runs in 24 balls when Flintoff was at last rewarded with wicketkeeper Matt Prior taking a smart catch tumbling to his right from an inside edge.

Swann bowled five maidens in a row from the Cathedral End with his flighted off-spin and Strauss was able to maintain attacking fields throughout the session without making any further breakthroughs.

After resuming at 336 for seven, England added 99 in 16.5 overs. Swann showed plenty of enterprise to reach 47 from 40 balls, adding 68 from 53 balls for the ninth wicket with James Anderson (26).

England began the day brightly with Swann and Stuart Broad going for their shots and running swiftly between the wickets. Broad reached 19 before he was bowled around his legs by Mitchell Johnson. Swann took three consecutive boundaries off fellow off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, including an audacious reverse sweep, and added 68 in 53 balls for the ninth wicket with Anderson.


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