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Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Australia recover from poor start

First Test, Perth (day one, close):
Australia 341-9 v South Africa
Dates: 17-21 December Start time: 0230 GMT
Coverage: Scorecard and reports on BBC Sport website. Live on Sky Sports
Match scorecard

Makhaya Ntini
Ntini took two early wickets and added a third later on

Australia recovered from a dreadful start to finish the opening day of the first Test against South Africa on 341-9 at the Waca in Perth.

The hosts were reduced to 15-3 after six overs as Makhaya Ntini struck twice to dismiss Matthew Hayden (12) and Ricky Ponting (0) in consecutive balls.

It was only the second golden duck of the Australian skipper's career.

But a 149-run fourth wicket partnership between Simon Katich (83) and Michael Clarke (62) helped salvage the innings.

The pair would have been disappointed when they fell in quick succession just before tea having taken Australia past the 150 mark.

But the score was given an added injection in the final session when Andrew Symonds (57), Brad Haddin (46) and Brett Lee (29) helped the hosts get over their early stutter.

Hayden and Ponting were both caught in the third over of the day and it put an immediate halt to the Australian innings as Hayden began in blistering form.

The left-hander hit three quick fours making Ntini opt to go around the wicket, and when a shorter delivery seamed away from Hayden a thick edge flew to captain Graeme Smith at first slip.


Ntini's next ball then dismissed Ponting, to add to his only previous golden duck suffered against India in 2001, when a fuller ball was edged to AB de Villiers at gully after the captain mis-timed his drive.

Michael Hussey survived the hat-trick ball but two overs later fell for a duck too when Dale Steyn angled a ball across the batsman and De Villiers took a brilliant catch at third slip.

"I really thought I had a chance of a hat-trick," said Ntini afterwards. "Maybe I should have come around the wicket at Hussey (another left-hander) as well.

"I went back over the wicket and he managed to leave alone a delivery slanted across him," he added. "It is not often your bowling plans work out so perfectly."

That three-wicket drama meant Katich and Clarke had to restore some kind of order and they survived well until lunch, nudging the score to 74-3.

The pair then quickly took control of the afternoon session with Katich bringing up his 50 and Australia's 100 with a lofted cut that flew over third man for six.

But just as big scores for the duo looked likely, another mini-collapse reduced the Aussies to 172-5.

Spotting that Katich was stepping into line, Morne Morkel removed the New South Welshman when he trapped him lbw with a full toss.

Clarke's dismissal then followed in the next over when he lobbed spinner Paul Harris to Smith at mid-off.

Symonds and Haddin came in to keep the scoreboard ticking over during the final session and they also looked like they might build a significant innings themselves as they scored 93 runs in 73 minutes.

But having passed his half-century, Symonds was deceived by some movement by Harris and his leading edge was well caught in the deep by Neil McKenzie.

Haddin then lofted Ntini's second delivery with the new ball directly to Proteas debutant JP Duminy.

Steyn later removed Lee when he mis-timed a drive and was also caught by Duminy, leaving Morkel to take his second wicket off the last ball of the day bowling Mitchell Johnson for 18.

Katich was full of praise for Symonds, who had a quiet time in Australia's preceding series against New Zealand.

"He played well at a period when we were under the pump but that partnership got us going and put a bit of scoreboard pressure on them," Katich said.

"They all, at different times, bowled well, Ntini got most of the wickets but Morkel and Steyn did a pretty good job as well. It was a pretty even day really."

The world's three leading news agencies are not covering the series due to a dispute with Cricket Australia.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press have suspended all coverage of the 2008-09 season.

Their photographers and reporters did not supply material from within the ground. As a result, we cannot use pictures from the current match.

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see also
Clark to miss South Africa Test
14 Dec 08 |  Cricket
Amla stars in Australian warm-up
11 Dec 08 |  Cricket
Watson handed recall by Australia
08 Dec 08 |  Australia
Uncapped paceman wins SA call-up
22 Nov 08 |  South Africa
Ponting plays down injury concern
04 Dec 08 |  Australia

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