Katich salutes Simpson after Ashes century

Updated: 10 July 2009 07:17 IST

Simon Katich paid tribute to Aussie great Bobby Simpson after his maiden Ashes century helped Australia frustrate England on the 2nd day of the first Test.

Katich salutes Simpson after Ashes century

Cardiff:

Simon Katich paid tribute to Aussie great Bobby Simpson after his maiden Ashes century helped Australia frustrate England on the second day of the first Test at Sophia Gardens on Thursday.

The Ashes-holders were 249 for one at stumps, still a deficit of 186, but with left-handed opener Katich 104 not out and Australia captain Ricky Ponting 100 not out.

Their second-wicket stand was currently worth 189 and for Katich his first hundred against England in seven Tests was especially sweet after he'd struggled against the reverse-swinging ball during Australia's 2005 Ashes series loss.

The 33-year-old has had a stop-start Test career, due to the strength of Australia's batting since he made his debut in 2001 and his own lapses in form.

"I know last time around (2005) I wasn't playing very well," said Katich, who in that series appeared in four out of the five Tests as a No6 and scored 248 runs at a modest average of 27.55.

"Coming into this series it was a huge series for me, you can't hide from the past, there's nowhere to hide in Test cricket."

Katich said working with Simpson, himself a former Australia opener, captain and coach, had made a huge difference to the fact he'd got back onto the Test side 12 months ago when he came in for the injured, but now retired, opener Matthew Hayden against the West Indies.

"I had work on my balance when I got dropped and I owe a huge amount to Bobby Simpson. He gave me the time of day when I did get dropped four years ago and was wondering if I could make it back.

Katich added: "His help technically has turned me into a more confident player. I probably look the same but I do feel a bit more confident at the crease in being able to hit the ball straighter."

Australia have seen several senior players retire from Test cricket during the course of the past couple of years with Hayden, fellow opener Justin Langer, wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist, spin legend Shane Warne and pace great Glenn McGrath all bidding farewell to the international game.

Without those great names, Australia struggled before a new-look side won a series in South Africa this year.

And Katich said: "Even though it is a young team and the team is learning to play together, we're confident we can put up a good show and really get on top of England."

And he said the side were taking their cue from Ponting, who is desperate to win a first Ashes series in England as captain after tasting defeat in 2005.

"Those of us who have been through what happened four years ago it hurt and you can't forget that," Katich said. "There are a few of us who are keen to make amends for what happened on that tour so he's obviously one of them."

Earlier in the day England off-spinner Graeme Swann, who was convinced he had Katich out lbw for 56, starred with the bat by making an unbeaten 47 in a total of 435.

But he admitted England had let themselves down with the ball.

Swann and fellow spinner Monty Panesar were widely predicted to outbowl Nathan Hauritz but, so far, they have combined figures of none for 80 from 31 overs while the Australia off-spinner took three for 95 in 23.5.

"A score of 249 for one doesn't speak very highly of the way we bowled, it probably sums up the way we bowled," Swann said.

"We didn't put the ball in the right place often enough. We can whinge and moan about the ball going soft, the wicket being flat and Katich not being given out lbw off me when it was plumb. But that's the way of the game.

"We've still got nigh on a 200-run lead."

Unlike Australia, none of England's batsmen made hundreds in an innings where there were three fifties.

"A couple of our guys realised they should have gone on and got hundreds. Our only hundred that was truly denied was mine because I ran out of partners," said a smiling Swann.

But with the new ball available on Friday morning, he added: "It's not all doom and gloom by any means.

"All the bowlers are looking forward to getting rid of this ball, throwing it in the river, and getting a new one in their hands."

Topics : Cricket Simon Katich
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