Perth: Australia skipper Ricky Ponting hopes to be fit to play in the fourth Ashes Test match in Melbourne on December 26 despite fracturing the little finger on his left hand and being unable to field in the third Test on Sunday.
Ponting, who celebrated his 36th birthday with a 267-run win over England to level the Ashes series at 1-1 on Sunday, injured the digit when he parried a ball from Jonathan Trott into the hands of Brad Haddin to dismiss the English batsman on Saturday.
“I’m a bit sore today obviously,” Ponting said after the Perth victory on Sunday. “I wanted more than anything to be able to go out there this morning and hopefully be able to enjoy a win.
“But I had to err on the side of caution. Another knock on it would have been pretty disastrous for me. I feel I have a really good chance to play in Melbourne.
“Fingers crossed -- not on that hand -- but fingers crossed everything will come up okay.”
England won the second Test in Adelaide by an innings and 71 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series and Australia need at least another victory and a draw in the last two matches to regain the Ashes.
Ponting will be hoping for an improvement in his batting form if he plays in Melbourne after scoring just 12 and one run in his two innings in the Perth Test to drop his average over the series to 16.60.