Ponting, Katich prop up Aussie innings

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Bangalore, Oct 9 (UNI) Australia made a sedate start after losing Mathew Hayden in the first over with skipper Richy Ponting and Simon Katich helping their team to 75 for one in 27 overs at lunch on the opening day of the first Test match against India which began at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here today.

Zaheer, who opened the attack for India, rattled the Australian openers with accuracy and some movement off the pitch and scalped Hayden, who had been a prolific scorer against India in the earlier series. The burly left-hander played awkwardly at a well pitched delivery just outside the off stump and offered an easy catch to M S Dhoni behind the wickets.

Ponting, who joined Katich, played with utmost caution as the first boundary came in the sixth over. After negotiating Zaheer, who was the pick of the Indian bowlers, he punished an errant Ishant Sharma. Growing in confidence, he hooked the lanky Delhi pacer and then raised the 50 partnership for the second wicket in 89 minutes in 107 balls.

The two have so far added 75 runs in 159 balls. Katich, a shaky starter, however settled down well and played the Indian bowlers rather easily with the wicket not offering much assistance to the bowlers.

The Aussie skipper has struck five boundaries in his 84 ball essay so far while Katich anchored at the other end, fending off the Indian spinners but his cover drive off Harbhajan just before the lunch was outstanding.

Kumble introduced spin in the 13th over, bringing in Harbhajan but the 'Turbanator' could not trouble the Aussie batsmen much.

Kumble bowled five tidy overs but the second wicket eluded the Indians till lunch.

The closest they came was when Ponting made a full length dive to save himself from being run-out off a direct throw from Sehwag who was fielding in the covers.

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