Melbourne: Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke on Friday said that skipper Ricky Ponting is almost certain to play in the Boxing Day Test that starts from Sunday after comfortably handling a solid practice session at the MCG nets.
Friday was Ponting’s first hit-out since he fractured his little finger in his left hand during last week’s third Ashes Test against England in Perth, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Ponting batted well and appeared to be untroubled by the finger fracture, making it highly likely he will be given the green light to play on Sunday.
The captain did not take part in the team warm-up at 9.30 a.m., but he emerged an hour later for a decent hit in the nets.
Ponting initially took block at the MCG indoor facilities, facing a bowling machine for about 20 minutes before moving on to the outside practice wickets where six young bowlers from Victoria’s cricket academy were waiting for him - four pace bowlers and two spinners.
When facing them, he confidently played a full array of strokes and appeared free of pain from the fracture of his left little finger, which he sustained when fielding at slip on day three of the third Test.
He did not face any of Australia’s attack during his 25-minute batting session outdoors.
Clarke said Ponting had spoken positively about his injury after training.
“He said it felt pretty good after facing some balls on the machine,” Clarke said.
“Unless they cut his finger off, it’s going to be very hard to keep him out.”