Australian batting blossoms at Hove
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 26th June 2009
Australian batting attack made sure they get some much needed batting practice on day three of their opening tour match against Sussex. Opener Phillip Hughes top-scored with 78 while skipper Ricky Ponting made 71 before declaring his side's second innings on 379-7. Now Sussex will return on the final day needing 418 for victory.
After having lost the way in the first innings, the Aussie top six batters made sure they did not miss out again. The run rate though was low comparatively low at 3.8 an over on a flat deck. The openers first built up a good stand of 93 runs as a usually attacking Phil Hughes played sedate cricket alongside Simon Katich (40).
Then the left-hander shared a partnership worth 63 with Ponting either side of the lunch interval before his attempt to hit a 12th boundary only resulted in Pepler Sandri sending his his middle stump for the second time in the match.
Ponting though was keen to make the most of a let-off having been dropped on 36. He struck 10 fours and a six in his 76-ball knock. The innings finally ended when a leading edge off the bowling of James Kirtley went straight to Luke Wright at mid-off.
Loss of Ponting saw Australia's scoring rate slow up big time. Marcus North played a uncharacteristic knock of 11 from 45 deliveries after taking 26 balls to get off the mark. Mike Hussey was also slow and he took nearly two hours to compile a patient 40 from 103 deliveries. Brad Haddin departed in a hurry for seven, leaving Michael Clarke, who finished up unbeaten on 75, and Brett Lee to add 100 in 19 overs. Lee - who will hope to push his claims for a Test recall with the ball on Saturday - was bowled by Will Beer having smacked five fours in his 33, the fall of the seventh wicket leading to Ponting ending the day's play with 11 balls left.