Glenn McGrath is confident that he will be fit for next week's Ashes decider at The Oval.
McGrath will continue undergoing treatment for swelling and pain in the joint of his right elbow before the two-day game against Essex at Chelmsford on Saturday. "I've improved out of sight," McGrath said. "Errol Alcott again is weaving his magic. If I don't quite make the Essex match then I'll definitely be right for The Oval."
That bullishness was offset by a more cautious offering from Ricky Ponting. "We've got to look at how Glenn's going to come up," he said. "We're not really sure how he is right now, if he's going to be fit."
However, Ponting vowed Australia would be ready for the series climax on September 8 and claimed the crunch situation would lift some of the pressure off his side, which must win to retain the Ashes. "We've probably never been in this situation before, where we're going into the last match of a series having to win to draw the series," he said. "But that might not be a bad thing for us right now. It's almost like a little bit of the pressure is off. We can just go out there and play and if all the individuals lift a little bit and play the way I know they can, then I am sure the result will be different."
England, chasing 129 for victory after making Australia follow-on for the first time in 17 years, almost failed to get home with Shane Warne taking 4 for 31. "As I have seen over the last two days of this game, a lot of that fight is there but just not for long enough," Ponting said. "If we want to win Test matches, it has to be over the four days, we have to be at our best for four days."
Ponting indicated that Australia were reluctant to make any changes to their batting line-up, despite the opener Matthew Hayden's form struggle and poor returns from Damien Martyn. "I can't see that happening, to be honest," he said.