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North, Haddin score debut tons as Aus take control
LONDON, July 11 (Agencies):
Published on 11 Jul. 2009 11:33 PM IST
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Marcus North and Brad Haddin recorded centuries during their Ashes debuts on Saturday in a daunting Australia first innings total of 674 for six declared on the fourth day of the first test. Ricky Ponting’s declaration in the afternoon session left England needing 239 to make his team bat again. North finished on 125 not out while wicketkeeper Brad Haddin reached 121 before he was caught on the mid-wicket boundary attempting his fourth six. It was the first time Australia have scored four centuries in an Ashes innings following hundreds to Simon Katich (122) and Ponting (150). North, who resumed on 54 overnight, reached his second century in three tests just before the lunch interval. Haddin struck the ball to all parts of the ground, racing to his century from 138 balls. Each of England’s five frontline bowlers conceded more than 100 runs. North’s hundred meant he’d become the 15th Australia player to make a century on his Test debut against England and the first since Damien Martyn and Adam Gilchrist both achieved the feat at Edgbaston in 2001. North’s stand of 103 with Haddin had all but ended any hopes England had of winning this match as the home side endured a wicketless session. North’s two off James Anderson took the left-hander to a century in 206 balls with 12 fours. Australia resumed on 479 for five, a lead of 44 after centuries from captain Ricky Ponting (150) and opener Simon Katich (122). Michael Clarke had fallen short with 83 before being dismissed just before stumps on Friday. North, who has played for five English counties, was 54 not and Haddin four not out after bad light cut short Friday’s play. Haddin set the tone on Saturday by cover-driving Broad for four. Anderson too struggled to impose himself and North’s pulled four off the Lancashire seamer took Australia past 500. All the while Anderson and Broad were failing to break through, the clamour for Stephen Harmison to be recalled grew. Harmison, England’s fastest bowler, had been dropped in the Caribbean earlier this year but did take six wickets for the England Lions last week. And even when Andrew Flintoff came on, to the delight of the crowd, the all-rounder was elegantly driven down the ground for four by Haddin. England spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann did cause a few problems but neither they nor the new-ball could separate Australia’s sixth-wicket duo.

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