Australian captain Ricky Ponting ‘fractures finger’

Perth: Australia captain Ricky Ponting fractured his finger during a blistering third Ashes match, officials said, leaving him in question for the fourth day of the Test.

“Ricky Ponting had an x-ray last night that has confirmed a small fracture of his left little finger,” said team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris on Sunday.

“A decision on whether he will field today will be made during the team warm up this morning.”

Ponting, who has scored just 83 runs so far in the series at 16.60, went off late in the evening session Saturday after hurting his finger while trying to take a catch to remove Jonathan Trott in a crucial session which left Australia just five wickets from levelling the series.

The injury was one of Australia’s few disappointments on the third day, as the tourists watched their ascendancy slip away as a series of quick wickets fell in the final minutes of play.

If England can somehow conjure an unlikely win in the match they will retain the Ashes, while an Australian victory will level the series with two Tests to play.

Australia’s second innings of 309 was anchored by a brilliant effort from Mike Hussey, last man out for 116, who now has 517 runs in the series at 103.40.

The left-hander, who was close to being dropped for the first Test at the Gabba, also became the first batsman in Ashes history to pass 50 in six consecutive innings.

Hussey batted for 315 minutes, faced 172 balls and hit 15 boundaries, steering Australia to a commanding lead of 390.

England have only ever successfully chased 300 or more in the fourth innings three times in Test cricket, their biggest chase coming back in 1928 in Melbourne, when they made 332-7 to defeat Australia.

Bureau Report