Australia's injury-hit squad could be without Ricky Ponting for the second one-day match against South Africa at Cape Town on Friday. Ponting missed the opening six-wicket loss last night and Adam Gilchrist, the stand-in leader, said the stomach injury was expected to keep him out for at least a week. Phil Jaques, the New South Wales batsman, was today named as cover for the squad that is also missing Andrew Symonds.
"Ricky is optimistic of rejoining us on the field this Friday, but I'm perhaps not so optimistic about that," Gilchrist told AAP. "If it happens then great, but I think it's going to be over a week at least." Ponting suffered the injury in the nets on Saturday when he played at an inswinging ball. "He jumped in the air with his legs up and bent his trunk down really forcefully at the same time," Errol Alcott, the team physiotherapist, said.
Gilchrist said Ponting's MRI scan showed he had "some sheering stress that's gone through the muscle", and it ruled him out of the first game alongside Stuart Clark, who has a bruised rib, and Symonds (hip flexor strain). Australia picked their only 11 fit players for the match and Jaques, who scored 94 on his ODI debut in January, has been added to the squad after a fine domestic summer.
Australia's faltering batting order is a major problem, but the bowling line-up is also a worry without Glenn McGrath. Brett Lee leaked 59 runs from his ten overs while Mitchell Johnson and Mick Lewis were given only three each at Centurion.
Gilchrist, who said it was a mistake to bat first, told AFP the injuries were not an excuse for the loss, which was secured by Graeme Smith's unbeaten 119. "Smith had to deal with those [injuries] through the recent tour in Australia," Gilchrist said. "Brett can't be on song every game and hopefully the younger bowlers will realise where they erred. Maybe they were too full or too wide. Man for man, South Africa just out-bowled, out-batted and out-fielded us. We just didn't deliver today."
Smith said the win would make the team "more hungry" after their tough tour of Australia, which included a 2-0 Test-series loss and missing the VB Series finals. "The guys are still highly motivated," he said, "and we will be keeping our feet firmly on the ground."