Hussey tames hungry Lions
Bresnan, Harmison and Onions all impress for the Lions at New Road
Last Updated: 02/07/09 7:50pm
Hussey: Fluent hundred
New Road - Day One
Australia 337-8 (M E K Hussey 143 no, S M Katich 95) v England Lions
Michael Hussey hit Australia's first century on their Ashes tour as they finished day one of their final warm-up fixture against the England Lions on 337-8.
The left-hander, who had not reached three figures since last October, closed on 143 not out - his 20th ton on English soil and his 50th in first-class cricket
Simon Katich also warmed up for the opening Test in a week with 95, while Mitchell Johnson showed his all-round value with 47.
However, in a curate's egg of an innings the only other batsman to reach double figures was Nathan Hauritz (11 not out). At one point the Australians were struggling at 197-6 with four of their top six not getting beyond seven.
It could have been even worse had Sajid Mahmood not dropped Hussey on 75 off his own bowling. The Western Australian also received another let-off on 132, this time from Adil Rashid, who went wicketless through 14 overs.
Despite the misses the Lions attack still worked manfully on a sluggish pitch that did offer some early help in muggy conditions - making Ricky Ponting decision to bat first something of a surprise.
Steve Harmison certainly seemed keen to make an impact on his way to figures of 3-67, hitting Phillip Hughes (seven) with his first delivery of the day. It was another short one that finished off the opener, as he could only fend a rising delivery to Joe Denly at gully.
While not bowling with the same sort of aggression as his county colleague, Graham Onions was just as dangerous, taking 2-62 in his 20 overs of work.
His probing accuracy proved too much for an out-of-sorts Ponting, who edged a wide, short ball straight to first slip Vikram Solanki to depart for one.
Katich and Hussey dug Australia out of early trouble at 24-2 with a third-wicket alliance of 141 in 29 overs either side of the lunch interval.
The pair pushed the scoring rate up beyond four an over at one stage before Katich hooked Harmison straight down Onions' throat at fine leg when a hundred was there for the taking.
The breakthrough sparked a middle-order collapse, Tim Bresnan tempting Michael Clarke to drive to Rashid, as three wickets went down for just 11 runs.
Marcus North (one) was unlucky to see a defensive prod deflect off his foot onto his stumps, while there seemed to be a further slice of good fortune for the Lions with Bresnan awarded a dubious lbw decision that sent Brad Haddin on his way for seven.
However, Johnson - who hit five fours and a six - proved a much more stubborn obstacle than the majority of those batting above him, mixing solid defence with some lusty blows to help add 129 for the seventh wicket.
Eventually the Lions removed the big-hitting all-rounder when he gloved a short ball from the impressive Bresnan (3-46) through to wicketkeeper Steven Davies.
Harmison struck with the new ball, bowling Brett Lee for six, towards the end of a day that saw him give a timely reminder to the national selectors.