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August 5, 2005
Glenn McGrath, the Australian fast bowler who was ruled out of the second Test at Edgbaston after a freak ankle injury during practice on the first morning, has said he is hoping to be fit in time for the fourth Test against England at Trent Bridge.
McGrath, who spearheaded Australia's comprehensive 239-run win in the first Test at Lord's, trod on a cricket ball laid out on the outfield for one of the team's pre-match fielding drills an hour-and-a-quarter minutes before the start, as he turned to pick up a rugby ball. He tore ligaments in his right ankle and was lying on the turf for several minutes before his team-mates helped him into a buggy.
After stumps Errol Alcott, the Australian physiotherapist, refused to ruled McGrath out of the third Test, even though that starts at Old Trafford on Thursday. But McGrath himself himself said his target was Trent Bridge, where the fourth Test is scheduled to begin on August 25. "I was just out there with Brad Haddin passing the ball rugby style," McGrath, told reporters at a post-play news conference where he came in on crutches. "The ball skidded past me, I turned to run and pick it up and the first step just planted my foot straight on top of a cricket ball and straight down. It was as simple as that.
"I've done my left ankle quite a few times but it's never been that bad," he continued. "At the time it felt like the sole of my foot was pointing to the sky when I went down so it was quite sore. The [cricket] ball was just set up, as we do for most games for our throwing warm-up. It's just one of those things. I realised before I hit the ground I was out of this Test match. I'm confident I can hopefully be right for Trent Bridge. That's what I'm aiming for, at worst."
Alcott added: "It's a bit early to say how long it's going to take. We don't know the prognosis. It's very early days. Glenn's displaying his intent but of course with an ankle injury like this we're not sure how long it might take. The X-rays don't show any major boney problem but it's an ankle that has seen a lot of action for years."
However, Alcott refused to give up on McGrath's third Test chances. "I'm not ruling anything out at the moment. We just want to wait and see how he is over the next couple of days. I know Glenn's resilience and his internal fortitude. We've been through a lot together with his other past injuries. He's good to work with, so if the structures in the joint will let us do our stuff, hopefully it will be sooner rather than later when he returns."
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