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Page last updated at 19:41 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 20:41 UK

Australia hit back against Sussex

Day one: Australia 349-7 v Sussex

Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin
Haddin top scored for Australia with a fluent 69

Australian tail-enders Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz fought back against Sussex on day one of the first match of their Ashes tour at Hove.

Australia lost opener Phil Hughes (15) and captain Ricky Ponting (8) early on as they slipped to 114-5.

But Michael Clarke (45) and Brad Haddin (69) launched a recovery before Lee (47no) and Hauritz (65no) took the score to 349-7 at the close.

South African seamer Pepler Sandri was the star for Sussex as he took 3-73.

The debutant quickly removed opener Hughes, who became the youngest player in Test history to score a century in both innings of a match when he played against South Africa in March.

Earlier this season Hughes, 20, had a stint at Middlesex which he believes will help him during the Ashes series but the attacking left-hander had his middle stump uprooted after making 15 from 26 deliveries.

There's a long way to go until the first Test though and there's a lot of work to be done

Australia's Brad Haddin

Ponting looked in good form as he punched two backfoot strokes to the boundary in front of a sun-baked crowd of nearly 6,000.

But the Australian skipper edged a Luke Wright ball to keeper Andrew Hodd before Simon Katich and Michael Hussey stabilised the innings with a third-wicket stand of 65.

However, Katich then fell to Sandri one short of his half-century and his dismissal prompted the loss of three wickets for one run in the space of 10 balls as he was joined in the pavilion by Hussey and Marcus North.

Australia were struggling at 114-5 but Clarke and Haddin doubled that score as they brought some resilience to the middle order.

Haddin was in attacking mood and hit three sixes and seven fours in his 69 before holing out to Sandri off Ollie Rayner's bowling.

Rayner followed up the wicket by snaring Clarke caught and bowled as the Aussies again stuttered at 232-7.


But paceman Lee and spinner Hauritz gave a some late authority to the Aussie innings with two fine innings.

Hauritz reached his 50 first and hit 12 fours as he reached a beligerent 65 by the close, while Lee struck a six and five fours to reach 47 in an unbroken stand of 117 as Australia ended the day on a high note.

"I think Sussex bowled quite well and put the ball in some good areas early on then, in the afternoon, they had a couple of good spinners going in tandem," said Haddin.

"These days most teams bat pretty deep in the order and it's no secret that the runs you can get out of your tail make a massive difference in results in Test matches.

"I know we encourage our lower order guys to get as much as they can out of practice and out there was the perfect example of that.

"Brett and Nathan showed they are pretty handy batters. They will gain a lot of confidence out of what they did."

The first Test against England starts in Cardiff on 8 July and Haddin knows the Australia team have plenty of room for improvement.

8-12 Jul: 1st Test, Cardiff
16-20 Jul: 2nd Test, Lord's
30 Jul- 3 Aug: 3rd Test, Edgbaston
7-11 Aug: 4th Test, Headingley
20-24 Aug: 5th Test, Oval

The wicketkeeper added: "I've heard this pitch compares a lot to Cardiff, although obviously it will be a different stage with a lot more pressure for the Test.

"It was good to spend some time out there. We've been going pretty hard in the nets, but it is good just to see where you're at in the middle and things felt okay.

"There's a long way to go until the first Test though and there's a lot of work to be done.

"The main point of this game was blowing some of the cobwebs out and part of the process towards stepping out for day one at Cardiff.

"It can get tedious just hitting it out in the nets, so it was good to get out there."

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see also
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