|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Player:||RT Ponting, SM Katich, A Flintoff, GP Swann|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2009|
DateLine: 9th July 2009
It was pertinent for the Australian skipper to lead the way after the English had a good outing with the bat. The Aussies had to be under pressure considering the pitch looked crumbled and England had two spinners up their ranks. But it seemed that Ponting was waiting for the challenge. He seemed to be set for a century from the word go and the ton was a just reward for someone who is probably facing the toughest test of his life.
Both he and opener Simon Katich by the end of the day put Australia in total control of the first Ashes Test at Cardiff. The duo between them have added an unbeaten 189 runs for the second wicket and in the process have washed away any fears of the pitch crumbling and favouring the English spinners. Australia in the process ended Day Two at 246/1 in response to 435 posted by the Englishmen.
Earlier, England resumed the day on their overnight total of 336/7 and their tail sent the Aussie bowlers for a leatherhunt on the second morning. The three last wickets added 99, and the onslaught was led by a thrilling 47 not out off 40 balls from the willow of Graeme Swann. Such was his flamboyance that England added the 99 runs in just over 16 overs at a run rate of close to six an over.
Swann was ably assisted by the tough nut James Anderson (26) who had come in late last evening. The two added 50 runs in just 38 deliveries. Such was the irony for Australia that at the end of it all, Nathan Hauritz had the most impressive figures and he was the one who closed the innings, finishing with 3 for 95. Australia then began positively in response to reach 39 without loss at lunch.
Aussie opner Phillip Hughes came out dashing and was especially ruthless to anything wide outside the off-stump. The timing with which he hit the ball was outstanding as he eased his way to 28 off 30 balls before the lunch break, as England bowlers kept bowling in his areas of strength. The plan it seemed was to target the left-hander with short-pitched stuff, but both Anderson and Broad were guilty of offering him width which he gleefully cut for boundaries.
Post lunch England skipper threw the ball straight into the hands of his trumpcard Andrew Flintoff. He it seemed was waiting for this as his first over contained three vicious bouncers. The battle looked like a marvellous duel to the eyes. The bouncers though were enough to shake Hughes who tried his level best to counter attack but finally after an array of false shots, fell victim to one of those.
In came Ricky Ponting and the skipper was determined to make it count. He and Katich added 86 runs in 24 overs before Tea. Ponting especially looked to be the aggressor between the duo. The right-hander also in the process reached the milestone of becoming only the fourth player in the history of the game to cross 11000 runs in Test cricket. Katich meanwhile went about his job in his usual calm and composed manner as he went to his fifty moments before tea off 123 balls.
In the last session of play only one team dominated and that was Australia. Ponting and Katich never even allowed the English bowlers to come even closer to taking their wickets. The batsman looked in total control and courtesy some surprising defensive field setting by Andrew Strauss they picked their runs quite comfortably.
Spin was considerd to be the saving grace for the English, but neither Swann nor Monty Panesar looked threatening as the right-hand, left-hand combination scored runs with aplomb. Katich was the first to reach his hundred and he raised the feat in 215 balls. He kind of accelerated after reaching fifty considering that his second fifty came off only 89 deliveries. Ponting from the very outset looked to punish the English bowlers. The right-hander scaled his hundred in a mere 155 deliveries and the knock was studded with eight hits to fence.