Aussies Hit Back At Hove
Half centuries from Brad Haddin and Nathan Hauritz allowed Australia to reach 349-7 on the opening day of their tour match against Sussex at Hove.
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The tourists, playing for the first time since their early exit from the ICC World Twenty20, chose to bat after captain Ricky Ponting won the toss in the first of two warm-up fixtures prior to the opening day of the Ashes in Cardiff on July 8.
Things looked bleak when they slumped to 114-5 by early afternoon, three of the wickets falling to Pepler Sandri, before Michael Clarke and Haddin instigated a recovery.
Haddin was the main aggressor as the sixth-wicket pair added 114, hitting seven fours and three sixes in an innings of 69.
He fell to Ollie Rayner (2-66) in the final session and the off-spinner immediately followed up with the scalp of Clarke, caught-and-bowled for 45, to leave Australia's innings back in the balance at 232-7.
Brett Lee and Hauritz dominated the remainder of the day, adding an unbroken 117 in quick time to see their side through to the close.
Hauritz, the solitary spinner in Australia's squad, blasted 12 fours to finish on 65 not out and was ably assisted by his New South Wales colleague Lee, who was unbeaten on 47 at stumps.
Earlier, Sandri - the 26-year-old seamer from South Africa - helped demolish Australia's top order on a blameless pitch.
Phillip Hughes (15) was first to go, misjudging a full-length delivery to lose his middle stump to Sandri.
Ponting joined Simon Katich and got under way with a trademark back-foot punch off Sandri that flew to the ropes at cover - and he repeated the shot to move to eight.
Katich dealt out the same punishment to James Kirtley, bouncing a crisp cover-drive off the boundary boards - forcing umpires George Sharp and Steve Malone to change the mis-shapen ball.
Just six deliveries later, and with only his fourth ball of the day from the sea end, Luke Wright had Ponting (8) edging a defensive push to wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd.
Mike Hussey and Katich steadied the ship to reach lunch on 90-2, but Katich's departure for 47 shortly after the interval was the start of a collapse that saw three wickets tumble in the space of 10 deliveries.
Left-hander Katich had hit eight fours and looked set for a deserved half-century until he aimed an airy cut at a full-length ball from Sandri (3-73) and edged to Michael Yardy at slip.
Two balls later, Hussey (32) was lbw pushing half-forward to a James Kirtley (1-61) off-cutter to lbw and then, in the next over from Sandri, Marcus North (1) nicked a defensive push through to wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd to go for just a single.
But the lower order bailed out Australia over the remainder of the day to leave Ponting's men well placed heading into the second day of four.