Clarke, North power Aussies ahead

Published: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 12:48 [IST]
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Clarke, North power Aussies ahead

Cardiff: Australia skipper Ricky Ponting led from the front with a commanding innings of 150 as the Ashes holders regained the advantage in the first Test against England here on Friday.

Australia, at stumps on the third day at Sophia Gardens, were 479 for five - a lead of 44 runs.

Marcus North, making his Ashes debut, was 54 not out and Brad Haddin four not out.

1st Test - ENG Vs Aus - Scorecard

But the weather, which stopped play for more than two hours in the final session because of a rain break, was threatening to play a decisive role.

Clarke and North were rarely troubled in a fifth-wicket partnership of 143 with Clarke especially playing some sparkling shots.

Earlier, England finally dismissed Katich(122), whose hundred was his first in Ashes cricket and Ponting, reaching three figures against England for the eighth time in Tests.

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Ponting, exactly 100 not out overnight, fell when he bottom-edged into his stumps after trying to force Panesar through the offside.

His innings spanned more than five hours and saw him face 224 balls with a six and 14 fours. It was the 13th time in his 38 Test centuries the 34-year-old Tasmanian had scored 150 or more.

Katich's near five-and-a-half hours of resistance came to an end when he was lbw to Anderson after being hit on the boot in front of his stumps. In all, the left-hander faced 261 balls with 12 fours.

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