Aussies fight back after Steyn’s burst

A century stand between skipper Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke helped Australia recover from a shaky start to reach 254/5 at close.

Written by Reuters | Johannesburg | Published:February 27, 2009 9:54 am

A century stand between skipper Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke helped Australia recover from a shaky start to reach 254 for five at close of play on the first day of the first Test against South Africa on Thursday.

Australia were in trouble early on in at 38 for three in Johannesburg in the opening session. However,Ponting and Clarke’s partnership of 113 steadied things. Then débutante Marcus North’s composed 47 not out,and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin,unbeaten on 37,added 72 for the sixth wicket before bad light,followed by rain,ended play early.

Ponting crunched 83,with 11 fours and a six,before he was dismissed by Makhaya Ntini after leaving a delivery that moved in,hit the top of his pad and went on to the stumps. The Australian captain had earlier been dropped by opposite number Graeme Smith at first slip off Steyn on 40,and promptly hooked the next ball for six.

Clarke also went before tea for 68,which included 10 fours,after a wide,full delivery from Steyn kept swinging away and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher gratefully accepted the catch.

Steyn finished the day with three for 82. A fine new-ball spell by Steyn had rocked Australia,who won the toss and chose to bat. Debutant Phillip Hughes fell for a duck,while Simon Katich (3) survived some scares before McKenzie terminated his innings with a superb one-handed catch in the gully.

Scoreboard

Australia (1st Innings): P Hughes c Boucher b Steyn 0,S Katich c McKenzie b Steyn 3,R Ponting b Ntini 83,M Hussey c Kallis b Morkel 4,M Clarke c Boucher b Steyn 68,M North batting 47,B Haddin batting 37,Extras (lb-7,nb-4,w-1) 12; Total (for 5 wkts; 68 overs) 254

FoW: 1-0,2-18,3-38,4-151,5-182

Bowling: Steyn 19-2-82-3,Ntini 16-4-53-1,Morkel 16-2-65-1,Kallis 4-0-19-0,Harris 11-2-18-0,Duminy 2-0-10-0.

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