Australia ready for its grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia ready for its grand final

By Adam Cooper 08/09/2005 06:14:50 AM Comments (0)

Australia's cricketers are ready for the grand final in the must-win deciding Ashes Test against England at The Oval.

Needing a win to square the series and retain the Ashes for a ninth-straight time, skipper Ricky Ponting said his side had switched their focus to achieving that victory from the moment they lost the fourth Test.

"We knew what the job at hand was and the job ahead so we've been building up for that," Ponting said.

"There is a very good mood around the team - it's our last week on the tour and we know exactly what we have to do to hang onto the Ashes.

"That's all ahead of us now, we're all in it together and we want to play the best game of cricket that we've played on the tour."

Australia's chances of winning have been significantly improved by two team changes - the return of Glenn McGrath for the tourists and the absence of Simon Jones for England.

McGrath will return from an elbow injury, in for Michael Kasprowicz, while Jones is out with an ankle problem.

McGrath has confirmed his fitness with another good showing in the nets, and Ponting was delighted to have his No.1 paceman back.

"Any time he misses a game, whether it's a one-day game or a Test match, there's no doubt we've missed him on a couple of occasions in this series already," Ponting said.

"He almost plays as two bowlers in our team - he's probably your main strike bowler up front with the new ball, but at the same time through the course of the day you can call on him to bowl some tight overs as well."

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