Ponting certain to play in Boxing Day Test: Langer

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MELBOURNE - Australia’s batting coach, Justin Langer has said that Ricky Ponting is certain to play in the Boxing Day Test, and added that the captain’s broken finger might be a blessing in disguise as he seeks to rediscover form.

Ponting is battling to be fit after fracturing the little finger of his left hand attempting a catch in the third-Test victory over England at the weekend.

Instead of returning home to Sydney, Ponting flew from Perth to Melbourne on Monday for another inspection by team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris, The Age reports.

Langer said Ponting’s toughness could not be questioned and the importance of the occasion would ensure his participation.

“I would be amazed if Ricky doesn’t play in this Test, he is that tough physically and mentally. At one-all, Boxing Day Test, a chance to win the Ashes, he will definitely be there,” Langer said.

“His injury might work in his favour. He has been trying so hard and this might help him relax and get ready for the Test match. Rather than working too much and doing batting beforehand, this might be the breather he wanted,” he added.

Michael Clarke is likely to debut as Australian Test captain in the Boxing Day Test, if incumbent skipper Ponting’s fractured finger doesn’t mend in time.

Ponting has scored just 83 runs at 16.60 in the series, while Clarke has made 115 at 23, the paper reports.

“I am really excited about these two. Ricky Ponting has played 151 Tests and averages 54 [53.85]; it is just a matter of time before he makes runs. He’s scored 83 runs in six innings; when you’re averaging 54 over 15 years you know he is pretty well due,” Langer said.

“I thought Michael Clarke batted brilliantly in the second innings in Adelaide for 80 and he was almost as good as I’ve seen in the second innings at the WACA [20 from 18 balls]. I am excited that our two senior players have yet to find a big score in the series and yet it’s level with two Tests to go,” he added. (ANI)

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