Anderson at the double for England

CARDIFF: James Anderson took two wickets with the new ball and Monty Panesar finally saw off Australia captain Ricky Ponting as England fought back on Friday's third morning of the first Ashes Test.

Australia, at lunch here at Sophia Gardens, were 348 for four in reply to England's first innings 435, a deficit of 87 runs.

Ponting, exactly 100 not out overnight, fell shortly before the break for 150 when, trying to force left-arm spinner Panesar through the offside, he bottom-edged into his stumps.

His 38th Test hundred spanned more than five hours and saw Ponting face 224 balls with a six and 14 fours.

Australia had been scoring steadily, and in largely untroubled fashion, until the advent of the new ball.

Simon Katich had extended his maiden Ashes hundred to 122 when his near five-and-a-half hours of resistance came to an end.

The left-handed opener was hit on the boot in front of his stumps by an Anderson full toss and given out lbw by West Indian umpire Billy Doctrove.

In all, Katich faced 261 balls with 12 fours and put on 239 for the second wicket with Ponting.

New batsman Michael Hussey, hit on the helmet by a Flintoff bouncer, never looked comfortable during his brief stay.

And when he limply edged Anderson to wicket-keeper Matt Prior for three, Australia were 325 for three.

Michael Clarke was 19 not out and Marcus North unbeaten on nought at lunch.

There were seven overs until the new ball was available when Australia resumed on 249 for one.

Even when the new ball arrived, it took a while for England's fortunes to improve. Anderson's first delivery with the new ball was poorly directed and Ponting helped it on its down to fine leg for four.

At the other end Flintoff came on, to huge cheers from England fans willing the all-rounder repeat his Ashes heroics of 2005.

But his first delivery Friday was so wide wicket-keeper Matthew Prior had to dive in front of first slip to take the ball.

It wasn't quite as bad as Stephen Harmison's first ball of the 2006/07 Ashes, which Flintoff held at second slip, but it was not what England wanted to see and nor was the sight of Ponting hooking a Flintoff no-ball for six.