Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day September 3, 2011

Ricky Ponting to miss second Test

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Ricky Ponting's 100th Test win arrived in the nick of time to allow him to fly home for the birth of his second child, which will rule him out of the second Test starting in Kandy on Thursday. The reserve batsman Shaun Marsh is set to make his debut, while David Warner, previously seen as a Twenty20 specialist, will join the group as a standby player.

Ponting's wife Rianna is pregnant and medical advice that the birth was imminent had Ponting booked to board a plane home hours after the tourists completed a 125-run victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Galle. Ponting will remain at home for about a week and is hoping to be back in time for the third Test.

"Rianna had another scan on Tuesday and the doctor believes it's going to be [due] in the next few days, so I've been keen to get this Test match over pretty quickly and get a flight out tonight," Ponting said. "I'll then get back Sunday night, so I'm pretty sure the little one will come a couple of days after I've got back hopefully.

"Hopefully the baby comes in the next couple of days and hopefully I'll be around for a few days and hopefully be able to get them out of hospital and be back in time to get prepared to play the third Test. As the tour's worn on, one thing I didn't want to do if at all possible was miss the birth, and Rianna's started to struggle a little more the last few days so she just needs me home at the moment."

Reflecting on his feat in becoming the first man to participate in 100 Test wins, Ponting said each victory had gained in significance for him as the Australian team began its transition from an all-conquering unit to the battling group of 2011.

"You always do [appreciate them more], yeah," Ponting said. "My proudest moment as captain was walking off the field in Durban [in 2009] when we beat South Africa over there. That was with a very young team. That was the proudest moment of my captaincy, and I think Michael [Clarke] will say something similar now.

"Michael's played in a lot of Test wins as well, but take away the fact this was his first Test as captain, I think anytime you teak a young team onto the ground and you can win a game I'm sure it's something we can all be proud of. It goes to show things aren't all doom and gloom in Australian cricket, and if we play the way this group knows it can play I'm sure we'll be competitive over the next few weeks as well.

"It's been a great week for this team, for us to eke out as many runs as we did in the first innings set the game up for us, but a lot of good things have happened this week, not just my thing, Michael's first Test as captain, and a couple of the debutants playing a big role in the result as well. It's been an enjoyable week."

Clarke's tribute to his predecessor was warm.

"We just had a toast in the changing room and I think there was about eight or nine of us that it's their first Test match win, that includes support staff, and for Punter it's his 100th," Clarke said. "It's a very special victory for Punter. I think the one thing I've always said is a great player is determined by his longevity and Ricky's played a hell of a lot of Test cricket, scored a hell of a lot of Test runs and captained a hell of a lot of Test victories as well.

"He's an amazing player. His bowling wasn't even too bad yesterday."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Slow_Eddy_D on September 6, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    @ Srikee 1987 - Agreed the bowlers were fantastic during this period but Ponting also ave approx 72 per your stats. Nobody is thanking RP for single-handedly winning 100 Test matches for Australia. People are merely acknowledging this feat, a feat accomplished by no other player in history. Had any other player achieved this feat from any other country, the same would be said.

  • hyclass on September 5, 2011, 23:34 GMT

    More importantly @AndyMick,why would Ponting make himself available for a Test at a time where,he admits being unable to give it his full attention.It can only be to protect his place in the lineup,given his age and the change of management at CA. One also wonders at David Hussey being sent home, when Australia were clearly set to lose Ponting during this series. Even people who are obsessed with introducing new and young players,must realise that there are limits. Marsh has 345 runs at 23 in his last 15 innings for state and country-hardly deserving,given his poor career record. Lyons success can be attributed to the widely condemned pitch,not to anything in his playing record. Krezja had a similar start. This team and squad are replete with inexperienced and young players. David Husseys pedigree and results,particularly in the longer format are peerless and he would have made the ideal replacement.Unfortunately,this tour is still the work of the old CA administration and Chappell.

  • AndyMick on September 5, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    Havent read all the comments, but are the Australians and their selectors going soft allowing someone to go home for a birth?

  • YorkshirePudding on September 5, 2011, 11:54 GMT

    Its going to take some beating, even the great SRT isnt close, with 61 wins from 181 games. Hope the birth of RP's child goes to plan as well.

  • WhiteRaven on September 5, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    @Srikee1987 its about contribution from Ricky in 100 wins first really understand what was the topic about... team play you need to give your share. by batting/bowling/fielding. Another silent record holder the great Kallis, his record speaks. nobody can come near to him.

  • anver777 on September 5, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    No doubt Aus team will miss his experiences for the 2nd test...........Sorry! Clarke no expert tips from Ricky for next test !!!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on September 5, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    Don't like him as a player (I'm a Pom, haha) but he's a fine, fine batsman and a great opponent. Well done on 100 test wins as a player and good luck with the new baby.

  • Srikee1987 on September 5, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    Post mortem in to Ponting's 100 Test wins.. Read as Years Test Wins Runs Average 100s/ 50s Overall Tests Overall ave Till Dec 1998 13 703 39.05 1/ 5 22 36.63 Jan 1999 to Dec 2006 64 6161 71.63 25/ 20 87 65.43 Jan 2007 onwards 23 1511 39.76 2/ 11 44 40.63 Career 100 8375 58.97 28/ 36 153 53.26. The period between Jan 1999 and Dec 2006... Australians were so dominant in all forms cricket. The credit shd not go only to Ponting because a test is not won by a player/ batsmen. Australian won because they had bowlers to get 20 wickets. Ponting is not the lone warrior here for the Australians. The credit shd be given to the bowlers Mcgrath, Lee, Gillispie, Warne, Kaspro n others who took the much needed 20 wickets at most times to win the TEST match

  • D.V.C. on September 4, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    @montys_muse: I think you will see Khwaja play 3, and Marsh at 6.

  • dummy4fb on September 4, 2011, 22:28 GMT

    I would like to see people like cummins,Cosgrove and klinger to make their way into the australlian squad.For long Klinger has merited his place in the squad.I guess Hughes has been given enough chances and has failed to capitalise on the same. It was criminal to drop him for couple of bad perfromance in 2009 ashes and it was even more criminal to select him when he was woefully short of runs in domestic cricket. Now that he has been failed he needs to go back to domestic circuit and hone his skills and make adjustment to his batting technique.Also haddin should be droipped and selectors should bring in Mathew wade over paine,as he is much more of a free flowing batsmen.Aussies were sucessfull when they had a lot odf stroke mekaers who used to bail them out o crisis by way of thier attacking play.Khwaja should open with Klinge/cosgrover followed by ricky ponting, Mike hussey, clarke,shane watson,Wade,Cummins,Harris,Lyon and copeleand/Hazelwood

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