Tail wags to put England in control

SWANN ON SONG: Graeme Swann, batting at No. 9, shared a ninth-wicket stand of 68 in just 53 balls with James Anderson and was 47 not out when the last wicket fell

AFP , CARDIFF

Fri, Jul 10, 2009 - Page 20

Graeme Swann led England to a first innings total of 435 as the hosts enjoyed the better of the second morning of the first Ashes Test against Australia at Sophia Gardens yesterday.

Swann, batting at nine, made 47 not out in a total of 435 and, together with James Anderson (26), shared in a ninth-wicket stand of 68 in just 53 balls.

At lunch, Australia were 39 without loss in reply after England had too often fed Ashes debutant Phillip Hughes’ strength outside off-stump.

Hughes was 28 not out and fellow left-hander Simon Katich 6 not out.

England resumed on 336 for seven, some way short of the 400 target total that captain Andrew Strauss would have had in mind when he won the toss.

Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Matt Prior each made half-centuries on a first day when Australia’s attack, all making their Ashes debuts, ensured honors ended even.

England started yesterday with Anderson (2 not out) and Stuart Broad (4 not out) at the crease.

Broad, son of former England opener Chris, cover-drove the fifth ball of the day from Peter Siddle for four and in the pace man’s next over Broad struck Siddle down the ground.

However, his innings of 19 ended when he was bowled round his legs by left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson to leave England on 355 for eight.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting then brought on Nathan Hauritz in a bid to check England’s scoring rate, but the off-spinner’s first ball of the day turned sharply and sped past wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for four byes.

It was an encouraging sight for England, who in Swann and Monty Panesar are playing two specialist spinners.

Swann then drove Hauritz for three fours in a row, the last a cheeky reverse sweep that took England past 400.

In all, 16 runs came off Hauritz’s first over and even Anderson swept him for four.

Swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus had bowled admirably on Wednesday, but the Swann elegantly drove him straight back over his head for four.

At the other end Anderson, who batted for more than an hour, made a tame exit when he chipped Hauritz to Mike Hussey at mid-on.

Swann was left just short of his second Test half-century when last man Panesar edged Hauritz to Ponting in the slips.