Thursday, February 26, 2009

AUSTRALIA VS SOUTHAFRICA 1st TEST:Honours even as Steyn, Ponting shine

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke shared a century partnership as Australia fought back after a poor start on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium on Thursday. Australia were 194 for five at tea.Ponting (83) and Clarke (68) put on 113 for the fourth wicket with attacking stroke play after Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel had reduced them to 38 for three.Fast bowler Dale Steyn ripped out both Australian openers as the tourists were put under pressure after winning the toss and batting in conditions which favoured swing bowling, with thunder clouds building up during the afternoon.Steyn had Clarke caught behind shortly before tea to have figures of three for 60.But Steyn could have had his third wicket shortly before lunch when Australian captain Ponting, on 40, survived a straightforward chance to South African counterpart Graeme Smith at first slip. He hooked the next ball for six.Ponting also survived the first challenge of an umpiring decision in a match played by either side.When Ponting was on 70 he was given not out by umpire Billy Bowden when the South Africans thought he had been caught behind off an inside edge.The home side used one of their potential two unsuccessful challenges but the evidence for television umpire Asad Rauf was inconclusive and Ponting batted on. Ponting was eventually bowled by a full ball from Makhaya Ntini which swung in so sharply that Ponting did not play a shot at it. He faced 134 balls and hit 11 fours and a six.Australia named three new caps, opening batsman Phil Hughes, batsman Marcus North and fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus, for the first match of a series which will decide the official International Cricket Council Test championship. 

It was a nightmare debut for Hughes, who was caught behind for nought off the fourth ball of the first over, flashing at a ball above head height which he should have left alone.Steyn had fellow left-hander Simon Katich superbly caught in the gully by Neil McKenzie for three.Morne Morkel followed up with the wicket of Michael Hussey, who was caught by Jacques Kallis at second slip for four.The South Africans were hampered by a back injury which kept Kallis off the field for almost two hours after the all-rounder had bowled four overs.

No comments: