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Haddin hoping for more of the same

Investec Test Series

Brad Haddin

Brad Haddin clips the ball into the leg side during his fluent innings of 69 on day one of Australia's tour match at Hove

Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin top-scored against Sussex on the opening day of the Ashes tour and is hoping the pitch at Cardiff - the venue for next month’s opening Test - turns out to be like the one at Hove.

Haddin, with an aggressive 119-ball innings of 69 that included seven fours and three sixes, led an Australian recovery from 114 for five through to a closing score of 349 for seven.

And after spending two hours batting on a benign Hove pitch, he said: “I’ve heard this pitch compares a lot to Cardiff, but obviously it will be a different stage with a lot more pressure (for the Test), but we did hear this was similar.

“It was good to spend some time out there. We’ve been going pretty hard in the nets, but it is good just to see where you’re at in the middle and things felt ok today.

“There’s a long way to go until the first Test though and there’s a lot of work to be done.

“The main point of this game was blowing some of the cobwebs out and part of the process towards stepping out for day one at Cardiff.

“It can get tedious just hitting it out in the nets, so it was good to get out there.”

Haddin added: “I think Sussex bowled quite well and put the ball in some good areas early on. Then, in the afternoon, they had a couple of good spinners going in tandem.

“These days most teams bat pretty deep in the order and it’s no secret that the runs you can get out of your tail make a massive difference in results in Test matches.

Brett Lee

Brett Lee helped himself to 45 not out as the Australian lower order mounted an impressive fightback from 114 for five

“I know we encourage our lower order guys to get as much as they can out of practice and out there today was the perfect example of that and (Brett) Lee and (Nathan) Hauritz showed they are pretty handy batters. They will gain a lot of confidence out of what they did today.”

The surprise package for Sussex proved to be opening bowler and former law student Pepler Sandri, a South African right-armer with Italian ancestry, who took 3-73 on his county debut.

Sandri, who has played only 28 first-class games for his native Cape Cobras, said: “I enjoyed that, it felt good to be out in the middle again.

“I have been struggling with injury and had a side strain when I came over and then a minor abdominal strain, which kept me out for a week and a half.

“I only knew yesterday I was playing. I bowled 12 overs on Sunday and came through okay. It was between me and Will Beer as to who would play and I’m glad that I got this opportunity.”

Commenting on the touring batsmen and his own background, Sandri said: “(Mike) Hussey looked in good nick, (Phillip) Hughes played a lot of shots and (Simon) Katich was very circumspect, but I didn’t want to sledge in Italian; I wanted to conserve my energy.

“Hughes was my favourite wicket. It was pretty full and he played an attacking shot.”

Sandri added: “My dad went to South Africa when he was 19 or 20. He had a choice of joining the Italian army or the Italian government through an exchange programme and settled there. My dad’s originally from Piedmont (north-west Italy).

“My dad watched every game I played and he would have been following my progress on the internet today.

“Yorkshire looked at me last year as a possible replacement for Deon Kruis, but he had a good season and my trial did not work out.”

Hove

A bumper crowd of around 6,000 were treated to a day of glorious sunshine on the south coast