Australia's Katich eager for Lord's return

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia's Simon Katich cannot wait to go back to Lord's where the first Test against Pakistan starts next week.

Updated: July 09, 2010 18:05 IST
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Australia's Simon Katich cannot wait to go back to Lord's where the first Test against Pakistan starts next week.

It will be nearly a year since Australia last played a Test at 'the home of cricket' where in 2009 they lost the second match of an Ashes series England went on to win 2-1.

"Any time you get the opportunity to play there, whether it's a county game or a Test match, it's a very special venue and we are really looking forward to be able to play there again," opening batsman Katich said.

"We are fortunate that the schedule allows us to play there so although it's not an Ashes Test it's still a Test match for Australia and we know Pakistan is going to be a good series so playing at Lord's is a bonus.

"It's always something you would like to get ticked off in your career, first to play at Lord's and then to be able to get on the honours board, so from that point of view I'm sure there will be a few guys trying to put their hands up for that.

"There's no doubt there will be some guys making their debuts next week and it can be a daunting place to play at.

"In an Ashes series it's probably different because you've got the pro-English crowd but there's no doubt it can be an intimidating place to play but it's also a special place to play so hopefully the guys will lap it up and enjoy it as much as anything."

Australia, who lost two Twenty20s to Pakistan at Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England earlier this week, are also playing a two-Test 'neutral' series in England because Pakistan has become a no-go area for international cricket since the attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore last year.

Both teams have just the one two-day warm-up game each before the Test series starts.

Katich was out for 22 against Derbyshire at Derby on Thursday but centuries from Michae Hussey (132) and captain Ricky Ponting (116), plus an unbeaten 52 from wicketkeeper Tim Paine, saw Australia to 435 all out at stumps on the first day.

"That was a good hit-out, most of the guys had a good stint out in the middle," Katich said.

"It's just getting used to facing red balls again because the boys have basically been facing white ones for the last month.

"Hopefully, tomorrow (Friday) 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 have a hit-out as well."

But Katich, who was not involved in the Twenty20 matches or the preceding 3-2 one-day series loss to England, said he would have wanted more warm-up matches ahead of a Test series.

"I honestly don't know why we are playing a two-day match, but obviously there's a reason for it.

"It must be the schedule because it's the first time I've been on a tour where we haven't played at least one, if not two, four-day matches before the Test series."

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