Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 4th day December 19, 2010

Ponting confident of playing on Boxing Day

25

Ricky Ponting rates himself "a good chance" to play with his broken little finger on Boxing Day, but won't be too proud to stand down if he's not fit. Ponting has learned from last year, when he went into the biggest game of the summer with a serious elbow tendon problem, and expects to wait until the morning of the fourth Test to decide whether he can lead.

The injury ensures another bumpy lead-up for Australia and means Michael Clarke will be on standby for his first Test as captain. Greg Chappell, the selector, said yesterday Clarke, the current deputy, was not ready for the top job but changed tack today.

Ponting, who will not pick up a bat until later in the week, did not field on the final morning as Australia raced to a 267-run victory that levelled the series at 1-1. "I have to have treatment and look after it for a few days and rest it," he said. "I think I have a really good chance of playing, it is only a small fracture. It is a bit sore and angry at the moment, but I'll be right."

He suffered the break when he spilled the edge of Jonathan Trott at second slip on the third afternoon, with the rebound popping up to Brad Haddin. X-rays last night showed a small crack and he spent the morning of his 36th birthday in the dressing room to protect the injury. He walked out after the victory had been secured to congratulate his team-mates while keeping his left hand out of everyone's way.

Ponting was in a similar fitness race this time last year as he battled to be ready for the start of the series against Pakistan. His right elbow had been hit by a Kemar Roach short ball at the WACA, and the problem disrupted his batting for the rest of the summer.

He was determined to play on despite the discomfort, but this time he will consider a different approach if the injury hasn't healed. "I honestly think with it being a little finger on my left hand, I don't think it's as significant as being the top elbow last year," he said

"I'm not going to be silly and put myself ahead of the team. If I don't think I can function well, I won't play. If I feel like I can function and play somewhere near - I won't say how I've been playing, better than I have been playing - then I will play the game."

Ponting not only has a hurt finger, but he also hasn't been in form with the bat, scoring 83 runs in six innings in this series, and averaging 38.95 in 24 Tests since the start of last year. The lack of output has resulted in increased pressure on his leadership, although that has eased with the strength of this victory.

Clarke, 29, has also struggled for runs and been facing scrutiny as the captain in waiting. Chappell attempted to back-track today after telling Channel 9 yesterday that nobody was in the right frame of mind to step into the captaincy. The comments came before Ponting was hurt.

"In that discussion I was being very careful not to make suggestions against Ricky and I didn't speak clearly to get that message across," Chappell told the ABC. "Michael is our next captain, whenever that might be. We're very happy, he's done the job before, and we have no doubt he's ready for it.

"What I was trying to say was that when the handover comes we'd love him to be in peak form. I'm not trying to suggest there was a problem there."

Yesterday Chappell said: "If we're going to replace Ricky, we've got to make sure we've got someone that we're confident has the right frame of mind who can take over and do a good job," Chappell said. "And I don't know that we've got somebody that we feel we want to rush Ricky Ponting out the door at this moment. There is nobody absolutely ready for it. I don't think there are too many other players I'd want to put that pressure on."

Chappell said today that Ponting will be given time to turn around his batting form, just like Michael Hussey was at the start of this series. "In the nets he's batting well," Chappell said. "Perhaps the pressure of this series, he built it up as a very important series, perhaps he hasn't had the mental freedom to bat. Hopefully the win here might give him the freedom in Melbourne."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vishnu27 on December 21, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    Finn92: how can I say Swann is ineffective. Easily. Have you checked the Perth match stats? 25 overs for the match. 2/103. "#1 spinner"? Really? His captain had no confidence in him (i.e. overs bowled & fields set). He is a good bowler, but he was found out on a pitch that did not provide assistance. He was not dictating terms when he bowled in Perth. He was dictated to. Did you watch the Perth test? Did you see him bowl to Johnson? Once MJ showed some intent to him, he had no clue & started bowling flat 95km darts for fear of being launched. Hussey has totally dominated him throughout (despite being dismissed by him twice) & looks to attack him as soon as he comes on. I was talking the Perth test. However, Swann has simply not had the impact England would've been hoping for overall. His strike rate is 80 & he is averaging almost 40 a wicket. If that's effective as the "# 1 spinner/# 2 bowler in the world"(however meaningless that is), then I'm clearly mistaken & apologise sincerely.

  • Go_F.Alonso on December 20, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    @Finn92: I'm a massive fan of Swann and despite Perth offering little to no assistance to spin, I was very disappointed that he didn't take a single 2nd Inn wicket. If he did, we wouldn't have been looking at a target close to 400. Dare I say, Paul Collingwood has been disappointing as well. I'd like to see Eoin Morgan given a chance; not sure at who's expense though. @Vishnu27: I hope your comments will come back to haunt you. It's fair to say England's batting was the sole reason we lost this match, so on a different pitch at the G - WATCH OUT.

  • Okakaboka on December 20, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    I've tried to post 2 or 3 posts as to why Michael Clarke MUST NOT be allowed to Captain Australia if Ponting is not fit. They mysteriously haven't been posted. I'm not the only one I bet. I will try again.......CLARKE IS NOT CAPTAIN MATERIAL....NEVER WILL BE.....SHOULDN"T EVEN BE PLAYING...HE IS NOT A CLASS PLAYER ANYMORE!!!!!! Not a tactical brain cell in his body. WHITE MUST be made Captain....There is NO one else...end of story...full stop!!!!

  • hoarder on December 20, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    I am an Aussie and I cannot see why Ponting and Clarke are pampered so much by the selectors. Both are failing with regularity and putting pressure on the players further down the list. They are lucky that they have Hussey, Watson and Haddin and now for the bowlers both Johnson and Harris have fired. Now the selectors are considering as a captain a batting liability and unproven captain. It is about time the selectors were consistent - drop Ponting AND Clarke as neither currently deserve their place and history should not be a factor or the stupidity iin constantly saying that a big score is just around the corner (this is true for ANY player). At this point in time I believe the selectors to be jokes - if they were running a company the company would be bankrupt.

  • Sweno on December 19, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    The best candidate for the next Aussie Skipper is Cameron White. He needs to be in the team now! If he's not the next skipper, he should at the very least be the next vice captain. He is the best State Skipper in Australia! He needs to take the next opening in the batting order. Clarke neither has the form or the tactics to lead the Aussies - Does the team even want him as Skipper?

  • ashes61 on December 19, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    Yes, Boxing Day is the 26th December, except of course when that date falls on a Sunday, which it does this year. A 27th December Boxing Day has therefore come around again, but I don't expect the MCG to stop calling the Boxing Day Test the Boxing Day Test - after all, Boxing Day will still occur on the 2nd day!

    Sorry to be pedantic but I'd like to be right about something this week. I was wrong about the WACA Test, which looked done & dusted at 78-0 in the 1st innings. It has certainly set up the series nicely but not as much has changed as would seem at first. Allowing for any player to have a bad day or a bad run - as all do at some time - it is still fairly clear that England have the better group of quality players, with superior leadership and organisation too. In predicting a 3-0 win for England I had already allowed for home conditions favouring AUS and for a certain amount of traditional Aussie grit. I still don't see those factors closing the gap sufficiently. 3-1.

  • andrew-schulz on December 19, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    What Mohammed is probably asking is why is it called boxing day? There are better places on the net to search, but it has to do with the boxing of Christmas presents. As for street hawk, whether or not you can get his name right, Cosgrove has done nothing for years, now has one great game and he's supposed to be a Test player? Please.

  • jrnmorris on December 19, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    I hope Ponting dont recover in time. Dont get me wrong, i am a big Ponting supporter but he isnt performing currently. i would love to see how the team perform without Ponting in the team. The selectors must not hope for the players to gain form, like for instance North. The guy was hopeless, scored a few hundreds which made him a good player. What happen to if the player dont perform he is out of he team. How can the selectors rely on an out of form player to win games. It's madness and suicide. Hopefully the of time will clear Ricky's mind and made him the fearful player he used to be.

  • Street_Hawk on December 19, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    Sorry Mark Cosgrove* and not Michael Cosgrove

  • Street_Hawk on December 19, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Aussies have to bring back NATHAN HAURITZ for the boxing day test and Ponting needs to let go of his ego which is hurting the team. Also, Michael Cosgrove can fit in for Phillip Hughes...Cosgrove is a wonderful batsmen capable of playing both pace and spin

  • Vishnu27 on December 21, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    Finn92: how can I say Swann is ineffective. Easily. Have you checked the Perth match stats? 25 overs for the match. 2/103. "#1 spinner"? Really? His captain had no confidence in him (i.e. overs bowled & fields set). He is a good bowler, but he was found out on a pitch that did not provide assistance. He was not dictating terms when he bowled in Perth. He was dictated to. Did you watch the Perth test? Did you see him bowl to Johnson? Once MJ showed some intent to him, he had no clue & started bowling flat 95km darts for fear of being launched. Hussey has totally dominated him throughout (despite being dismissed by him twice) & looks to attack him as soon as he comes on. I was talking the Perth test. However, Swann has simply not had the impact England would've been hoping for overall. His strike rate is 80 & he is averaging almost 40 a wicket. If that's effective as the "# 1 spinner/# 2 bowler in the world"(however meaningless that is), then I'm clearly mistaken & apologise sincerely.

  • Go_F.Alonso on December 20, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    @Finn92: I'm a massive fan of Swann and despite Perth offering little to no assistance to spin, I was very disappointed that he didn't take a single 2nd Inn wicket. If he did, we wouldn't have been looking at a target close to 400. Dare I say, Paul Collingwood has been disappointing as well. I'd like to see Eoin Morgan given a chance; not sure at who's expense though. @Vishnu27: I hope your comments will come back to haunt you. It's fair to say England's batting was the sole reason we lost this match, so on a different pitch at the G - WATCH OUT.

  • Okakaboka on December 20, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    I've tried to post 2 or 3 posts as to why Michael Clarke MUST NOT be allowed to Captain Australia if Ponting is not fit. They mysteriously haven't been posted. I'm not the only one I bet. I will try again.......CLARKE IS NOT CAPTAIN MATERIAL....NEVER WILL BE.....SHOULDN"T EVEN BE PLAYING...HE IS NOT A CLASS PLAYER ANYMORE!!!!!! Not a tactical brain cell in his body. WHITE MUST be made Captain....There is NO one else...end of story...full stop!!!!

  • hoarder on December 20, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    I am an Aussie and I cannot see why Ponting and Clarke are pampered so much by the selectors. Both are failing with regularity and putting pressure on the players further down the list. They are lucky that they have Hussey, Watson and Haddin and now for the bowlers both Johnson and Harris have fired. Now the selectors are considering as a captain a batting liability and unproven captain. It is about time the selectors were consistent - drop Ponting AND Clarke as neither currently deserve their place and history should not be a factor or the stupidity iin constantly saying that a big score is just around the corner (this is true for ANY player). At this point in time I believe the selectors to be jokes - if they were running a company the company would be bankrupt.

  • Sweno on December 19, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    The best candidate for the next Aussie Skipper is Cameron White. He needs to be in the team now! If he's not the next skipper, he should at the very least be the next vice captain. He is the best State Skipper in Australia! He needs to take the next opening in the batting order. Clarke neither has the form or the tactics to lead the Aussies - Does the team even want him as Skipper?

  • ashes61 on December 19, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    Yes, Boxing Day is the 26th December, except of course when that date falls on a Sunday, which it does this year. A 27th December Boxing Day has therefore come around again, but I don't expect the MCG to stop calling the Boxing Day Test the Boxing Day Test - after all, Boxing Day will still occur on the 2nd day!

    Sorry to be pedantic but I'd like to be right about something this week. I was wrong about the WACA Test, which looked done & dusted at 78-0 in the 1st innings. It has certainly set up the series nicely but not as much has changed as would seem at first. Allowing for any player to have a bad day or a bad run - as all do at some time - it is still fairly clear that England have the better group of quality players, with superior leadership and organisation too. In predicting a 3-0 win for England I had already allowed for home conditions favouring AUS and for a certain amount of traditional Aussie grit. I still don't see those factors closing the gap sufficiently. 3-1.

  • andrew-schulz on December 19, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    What Mohammed is probably asking is why is it called boxing day? There are better places on the net to search, but it has to do with the boxing of Christmas presents. As for street hawk, whether or not you can get his name right, Cosgrove has done nothing for years, now has one great game and he's supposed to be a Test player? Please.

  • jrnmorris on December 19, 2010, 20:43 GMT

    I hope Ponting dont recover in time. Dont get me wrong, i am a big Ponting supporter but he isnt performing currently. i would love to see how the team perform without Ponting in the team. The selectors must not hope for the players to gain form, like for instance North. The guy was hopeless, scored a few hundreds which made him a good player. What happen to if the player dont perform he is out of he team. How can the selectors rely on an out of form player to win games. It's madness and suicide. Hopefully the of time will clear Ricky's mind and made him the fearful player he used to be.

  • Street_Hawk on December 19, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    Sorry Mark Cosgrove* and not Michael Cosgrove

  • Street_Hawk on December 19, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    Aussies have to bring back NATHAN HAURITZ for the boxing day test and Ponting needs to let go of his ego which is hurting the team. Also, Michael Cosgrove can fit in for Phillip Hughes...Cosgrove is a wonderful batsmen capable of playing both pace and spin

  • Nampally on December 19, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    Ponting's injury is blessing in disguise for the Aussies. It gives him time to ponder over his mistakes and build up some confidence by resting for one test and recharging with fresh outlook.He is batting very poorly. Ponting has always been vulnerable to a rising ball on or just outside the off stump at the start of the innings. This is not new but he seems to be failing more often now. Clarke is the alternate choice for captaincy, even though he is not in the best of form.Watson & Hussey have been the 2 stalwarts who always stood up consistently for the Aussies in batting. With the regained form of Johnson and Harris, Aussies are right back and a winning team again.Replacement of a batsman for Ponting may be Khwaja.It will be tough for England to bounce back with the loss of Broad- England's bowling is weakened. Anderson & Swann are the 2 leaders who have been partly subdued by the Aussies in the last test. The series is at a crucial & interesting point now.

  • Icyman on December 19, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    @ Mohd.Sarfraz- Boxing Day is the 26th of December. The day after Christmas

    Good to hear that Ponting may recover, Australia without Ponting will be like a second XI. As for Clarke, I agree with Greg Chappell, he is simply not ready for the job. The Australian problem though, they need to find another suitable leader soon ,else it will be difficult for them to continue in this reign.

  • Finn92 on December 19, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    I can admit we were very poor batting wise and that the Aussies deserved their win but I'm loving all the jumping on the band wagon of people loving Aus only a week or so after being crushed at Adelaide. England are a different side to years gone by they will come back stronger not roll over as they did four years ago. And how can you say Swann is ineffective Vishnu? He's the best spinner in the world, if you want proof just look how Bhajji was treated like a part timer by SA and how Swann did against them last year.

  • Something_Witty on December 19, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    Come on Peter, I usually have a lot of respect for you and your opinions, but your endless not-so-subtle hints and blatant accusations that Ponting is past it are getting old. Not only because they seem to be being repeated ad nauseum, but also because they are just silly. Everyone has form slumps, EVERYONE. I think there's a guy in the Australian team called Hussey or something? Yeah It's Michael Hussey, that's right, who until this series had averaged something like 35 over the past 2 years. (Less than Ponting has over his form slump). Yes Ponting is the not the Ponting of 2006, but he is still a wonderful batsman, and to write him off so often is just silly.

  • mathematician on December 19, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    well well well.. look who's chirping noww...hey, Pom Poms, "if u dont start no stuff, there wouldn't be no stuff.." Cmon aussie, u know when u mess with the english psychy, that's the end of em,..what took you so long? their bubble got burst, now they running on fumes..congrats huss and mitchy, rhyno too, go D Chargers...ha haaa...

    Aussie in de buildin

  • popcorn on December 19, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    Why is Peter English hurting so much? What anti - Australian, anti - Ponting wounds is he carrying? Ricky Ponting is a legend. He is already the most winningest Test Captain EVER,he now has 48 Test wins as Captain, I hope he achieves 50 Test wins with wins at the MCG and SCG. The MCG is his favourite ground where he scored a 100 in the first innings and 99 in the second.I hope he scores a 100 in each innings at the MCG this time.Ian Chappell said Ponting is in good form, it's just that he has been unlucky - a great catch by Collingwood, and a catch by Matt Prior on the legside.Ian Chappell believes that there will be at least one masterpiece from Ricky Ponting in these Ashes, and let's wish Punter all the best for wins at the MCG and the SCG and a classic or two in the four innings left in The Ashes.

  • on December 19, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    WHAT SO EVER WE ALL aUSSIES FAN OUR IST PRIORITY IS THAT PONTING CAN LEAD THE TEAM IN 4TH ASHES TEST.............CLARKE IS GOOD ONE BUT ONE THING I CAN TELL YO LEGEND IS ALWAYS LEGEND AND PUNTER IS LEGEND..........

  • AKS286 on December 19, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    johnson shuts up all the commenter. its time of m.beer now he will prove why he is in team. AUSSIES can do nything.

  • Webba84 on December 19, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Boxing Day is the public holiday the day after Christmas. There's always a test match that starts on that day.

  • Something_Witty on December 19, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    @ Mohammed Sarfaraz, "Boxing Day" is simply the day after Christmas Day.

  • on December 19, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Usually when the Ausies start wining they keep the momentum going on. Bad thing before the world cup!! Ponting's injury may be a blessing in disguise!! Ausies don't need their captain to perform to win a game. At least someone in form may come in the team!!

  • Runster1 on December 19, 2010, 7:14 GMT

    Exactly wat the english need in a series defining match: australia to lose their captain and be leaderless. gud lcuk england

  • backwardpoint on December 19, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    I Hope that Ricky gets his chance to play at the MCG and also plays against odds and scores a century and makes his team and his country proud

    I just do wonder why my comments havent been arriving at the site though I have been sensible. I see stupid comments coming up. Why ever not mine?

  • Vishnu27 on December 19, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    England have been absolutely blown away on what was quality test pitch. What ever momentum they carried from Adelaide has now been totally wrested back by Australia. The thinly veneered over cracks of the England team on full view. Some large deficits in the both bowling & batting. The ineffectiveness of Swann, the way Finn has been mercilessly attacked, & the inability to play the accurate bouncing delivery have clearly proved costly. With some England players clearly having no stomach for the fight with bat in hand (i.e. the batting efforts of Collingwood & Anderson: two major chirpers onfield). England were a team with so much to say out on the field on day one of this contest. What a contrast to the remaining days where barely a peep was uttered (other than Prior's "offer"). Interesting times ahead. England counted their "chickens" a little too early it appears. Come on Australia, put them to the sword at the 'G (they didn't like it there in '06: all over in just over two days).

  • on December 19, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    Hey friends what do you mean by "Boxing Day"? in cricketing terms

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 19, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    Hey friends what do you mean by "Boxing Day"? in cricketing terms

  • Vishnu27 on December 19, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    England have been absolutely blown away on what was quality test pitch. What ever momentum they carried from Adelaide has now been totally wrested back by Australia. The thinly veneered over cracks of the England team on full view. Some large deficits in the both bowling & batting. The ineffectiveness of Swann, the way Finn has been mercilessly attacked, & the inability to play the accurate bouncing delivery have clearly proved costly. With some England players clearly having no stomach for the fight with bat in hand (i.e. the batting efforts of Collingwood & Anderson: two major chirpers onfield). England were a team with so much to say out on the field on day one of this contest. What a contrast to the remaining days where barely a peep was uttered (other than Prior's "offer"). Interesting times ahead. England counted their "chickens" a little too early it appears. Come on Australia, put them to the sword at the 'G (they didn't like it there in '06: all over in just over two days).

  • backwardpoint on December 19, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    I Hope that Ricky gets his chance to play at the MCG and also plays against odds and scores a century and makes his team and his country proud

    I just do wonder why my comments havent been arriving at the site though I have been sensible. I see stupid comments coming up. Why ever not mine?

  • Runster1 on December 19, 2010, 7:14 GMT

    Exactly wat the english need in a series defining match: australia to lose their captain and be leaderless. gud lcuk england

  • on December 19, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Usually when the Ausies start wining they keep the momentum going on. Bad thing before the world cup!! Ponting's injury may be a blessing in disguise!! Ausies don't need their captain to perform to win a game. At least someone in form may come in the team!!

  • Something_Witty on December 19, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    @ Mohammed Sarfaraz, "Boxing Day" is simply the day after Christmas Day.

  • Webba84 on December 19, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Boxing Day is the public holiday the day after Christmas. There's always a test match that starts on that day.

  • AKS286 on December 19, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    johnson shuts up all the commenter. its time of m.beer now he will prove why he is in team. AUSSIES can do nything.

  • on December 19, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    WHAT SO EVER WE ALL aUSSIES FAN OUR IST PRIORITY IS THAT PONTING CAN LEAD THE TEAM IN 4TH ASHES TEST.............CLARKE IS GOOD ONE BUT ONE THING I CAN TELL YO LEGEND IS ALWAYS LEGEND AND PUNTER IS LEGEND..........

  • popcorn on December 19, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    Why is Peter English hurting so much? What anti - Australian, anti - Ponting wounds is he carrying? Ricky Ponting is a legend. He is already the most winningest Test Captain EVER,he now has 48 Test wins as Captain, I hope he achieves 50 Test wins with wins at the MCG and SCG. The MCG is his favourite ground where he scored a 100 in the first innings and 99 in the second.I hope he scores a 100 in each innings at the MCG this time.Ian Chappell said Ponting is in good form, it's just that he has been unlucky - a great catch by Collingwood, and a catch by Matt Prior on the legside.Ian Chappell believes that there will be at least one masterpiece from Ricky Ponting in these Ashes, and let's wish Punter all the best for wins at the MCG and the SCG and a classic or two in the four innings left in The Ashes.