India v Australia, 6th ODI, Nagpur October 13, 2007

Injury niggle puts Hayden in doubt

Cricinfo staff



Matthew Hayden didn't bat in the nets a day ahead of the sixth ODI in Nagpur © AFP

Matthew Hayden remains a doubtful starter for the sixth ODI in Nagpur despite having "improved dramatically" after suffering an injury during the course of his innings in the fifth game. Hayden grimaced in pain after stretching forward full length to play a sweep shot, and had to use a runner for the remainder of his 39-ball 29.

Soon after the match Ricky Ponting said the problem appeared to be at the point of Hayden's hip. The physio, however, did not think there was a muscle tear as Hayden would have been unable to play the strokes he did and move as he did had this been the case.

"He [Hayden] has done no batting today but he's done a bit of walking and jogging along the boundary line," said Ponting on the eve of the sixth match. "We're going to give him until tomorrow morning to see if he pulls up okay." While explaining that a final decision on Hayden would be taken on the morning of the match Ponting clarified that only an injury would cause a change in the Australian XI.

"The only way we'll change the team is if Hayden is not fit. He'll then be replaced by Brad Haddin," said Ponting. "We feel right at the moment, the balance is pretty good. With [Mitchell] Johnson bowling the way he did in the last game and Brett [Lee] bowling the way he has all series there's no way that we can get any of the other fast bowlers into the team. The batting line-up has been doing a pretty good job as well. We'll push forward with the same eleven if Hayden is fit."

Even in the case that Hayden is not fit to play, Australia are in pretty good hands. In the two matches Haddin played in the series, when Ponting was out through injury, he made 69 and 87 not out, winning the Man-of-the-Match award in Kochi for the second knock.