Katich and Ponting lead Aussie innings

CARDIFF: Simon Katich and Ricky Ponting survived a ferocious burst from Andrew Flintoff after the all-rounder had dismissed Phillip Hughes on the second day of the first Ashes Test here on Thursday.

At tea, Ashes holders Australia were 142 for one in reply to England's 435, a deficit of 293, with left-handed opener Katich 53 not out and captain Ponting 44 not out at Sophia Gardens.

Ponting's innings meant he'd joined an elite group of batsmen who'd all scored more than 11,000 Test runs in Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and former Australia captain Allan Border.

Flintoff, brought on for the first over after lunch, immediately tested left-handed opener Hughes, making his Ashes debut, from around the wicket in a bid to cramp the batsman for room.

The pace bowler then saw Katich, on 10, drive the ball low and hard back at him only for Flintoff, in his follow through, to drop the difficult caught and bowled chance.

Hughes, who favours the offside, had made 28 runs off 30 balls before lunch. But it was a different story after the break with the 20-year-old Hughes only managing eight off 24 in the face of some fiery bowling from Flintoff, playing his first Test of the season following a knee injury.

Hughes was eventually out for 36 when he inside edged Flintoff, the hero of England's 2005 Ashes series win, and wicket-keeper Matt Prior held a good, low diving catch.

But that was as good as it got for England in the session, even though Flintoff, who took one wicket for 15 runs in six overs, several times beat Katich on the outside edge.

Fellow quicks James Anderson and Stuart Broad could not match Flintoff's pace or threat.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann, who'd earlier starred with the bat, reeled off five consecutive maidens on a pitch taking turn but Australia's second-wicket duo were rarely troubled by him or left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.

Swann, batting at nine, made 47 not out and, together with Anderson (26), had shared in a ninth-wicket stand of 68 in just 53 balls before lunch.

England resumed on 336 for seven, with all of their specialist batsmen out.

Anderson was two not out and Broad four not out.

Broad, after playing some stylish shots, fell for 19 when he was bowled round his legs by left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson.

But the runs kept coming.

Ponting then brought on Nathan Hauritz in a bid to check England's scoring but the off-spinner's first ball of the day turned sharply and sped past wicket-keeper Brad Haddin for four byes.

Swann then drove Hauritz for three fours in a row, the last a cheeky reverse sweep that took England past 400.

But at the other end Anderson, who batted for over an hour, made a tame exit when he chipped Hauritz to Mike Hussey at mid-on.

Swann was left just short of his second Test fifty when last man Panesar edged Hauritz to Ponting in the slips.