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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Australia's beautiful day
Australia's Justin Langer continues his Ashes diary for BBC Sport Online on the first day of the fourth Test at Headingley.


Richie Benaud continued a tradition in Australian cricket on Thursday by presenting Simon Katich with his baggy green cap.

A past Australian player has been invited by the captain to make the special presentation to the debutant and offer a little advice to the new recipient of the cherished baggy green.

The advice offered by the day's distinguished guest of honour was to enjoy every single moment that you wear the cap on your head and to respect the traditions of Australian cricket like many that have passed before.

Knowing the character of "Katto", I think Richie's advice will be taken seriously and respectfully, as Australian Test player number 383 tries to forge his own pages of cricket history in the future.

Simon Katich poses with his baggy green
"Katto" received his baggy green from Richie Benaud
Having to face the first ball on day two, will be the perfect way to get his Test career under way.

Losing Mark Waugh in the last over on Thursday means Simon will be straight into the action on Friday morning.

It always seems a little unjust when a batsman loses his wicket in the last over of the day, especially when that batsman has played so superbly for the couple of hours before hand.

Partnering Ricky Ponting, "Junior" played a tough and disciplined innings to help put us in a very strong position at stumps. The way Mark played, showed that he was determined to take over the senior pro's role from his injured brother.

His discipline under fire from the England pace quartet, was a credit to the younger of the twins who is having a fantastic Ashes series.

He looks to be more watchful than usual, especially early in his innings, and he is displaying fighting qualities that he is not regularly given credit for.

Mark Waugh
"Junior" Waugh hits out
He is often described as a pretty and elegant batsman, which he certainly is, but he is also a tough, uncompromising character who is more of a fighter in the middle than his persona may reflect.

With his brother sidelined, there is a comfort in the team knowing that Mark is in such fruitful form and has an apparently hungry mindset.

Batting with Ricky on Thursday, he almost played the anchor role in the partnership.

"Punter" was at his brilliant best on a pitch that looked to be quite low and slow.

After surviving an early catch on the third umpire's video screen, our elected vice-captain dominated proceedings hitting the ball to, and over, all parts of the Headingley boundary.

His eighth Test century was ruthless, and had it not been for a ball that jumped off a good length, he looked destined to score a massive score here.

England indiscipline

After Gilly won the toss everything seemed to go to plan for the visitors.

From the first ball of the day, when Alan Mullally miss-fielded a ball that went for four, England looked flat and less energetic than I would have imagined they would be.

From the start their bowlers lacked discipline and on a slow pitch they bowled too short.

Ricky Ponting is one of the best back foot players in the world, and yet the England bowler's seemed intent on testing this aspect of his game. The mind boggles!
Ricky Ponting
"Punter" pummelling: Ponting hits a six

Because of the late finishing time of 1935 BST, and the long day at the ground, the feeling in our changing room was quite neutral after play.

The late dismissal of Mark was disappointing, but when we have all had time to reflect overnight, we will realise that day one of this fourth Test match has been a beauty for Australia.

This pitch is sure to deteriorate over the next few days, so every run we score in this first innings is going to hurt England who will be hoping for more fight on Friday.

From Leeds

JL

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