Tons by Hussey-Ponting rescue Oz from warm-up embarrassment

London: Australian batsman Mike Hussey and skipper Ricky Ponting rescued the Aussies from a potentially embarrassing outing against Derbyshire in their only warm-up game before next week’s first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s.

The visitors lost three early wickets and were reeling at 3-47 before centuries from the pair laid the foundations for a score of 436 all out.

Derbyshire fast bowler Atif Sheikh dismissed openers Shane Watson (five) and Simon Katich (22), while fellow pacer Mark Footitt bowled vice-captain Michael Clarke (one).

Hussey (132) and Ponting (112 retired) put on 210 for the fourth wicket.

Ponting looked in good nick during his stay, during which he cracked 14 fours and three sixes.

Steve Smith made a breezy 48 before his expected Test debut, while wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine (52 not out) played a measured hand ahead of his maiden appearance in the baggy green.

Meanwhile, Katich said that the Australians were keen to get another full day of action on Friday.

“Most of the guys had pretty good stints out there in the middle just getting used to facing red balls again. They have been facing white ones for the last month,” Fox Sports quoted Katich, as saying.

“Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be good and we will be able to get a full day in the field and the bowlers will be able to be have a hit out as well,” he added.

The match is Australia’s only practice fixture before the Lord’s Test starting on Tuesday.



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