Ponting tips Hussey to return for clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting tips Hussey to return for clash

By Greg Buckle 24/02/2006 06:10:45 AM Comments (0)

Captain Ricky Ponting is confident Mike Hussey and Andrew Symonds will be available for Australia's opening one-day game against South Africa at Centurion.

Hussey, Australia's newly crowned one-day player of the year, has been in Perth this week for the birth of his second child, William Oliver.

The West Australian is due to arrive in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Big-hitting all-rounder Symonds has broken down with a minor hip-muscle strain and will also miss the Twenty20 match against South Africa at Wanderers Stadium on Friday night (0300 Saturday AEDT).

Ponting said Queenslander Symonds was in little doubt for Sunday's first match in the five-game one-day series.

"I wouldn't have thought so. It is a very low grade one (strain)," Ponting said.

The Australians are bracing themselves for a tough night from the capacity crowd of about 33,000 at the Wanderers Stadium.

"South African crowds are going to be there, they are going to be supportive of us and that's what we want," South African captain Graeme Smith said.

"That's the message we want out there, to be there and support your country.

"It's great for us to be out in front of our home crowd but we also expect them to be dignified and not to cross the lines that were crossed in Australia," he added, referring to ugly scenes at the first Test in Perth in December when South African players were racially abused by fans.

Meanwhile, Ponting said the Twenty20 game was a hard one to take seriously.

The 20-overs-a-side game has been played at domestic level in South Africa for three years compared to one season by the states in Australia.

"You've just got to go out there and swing pretty much straight away," Ponting said.

"Some days you're going to come off and some days you're not."

South Africa had originally opted to rest all-rounder Shaun Pollock but has now recalled the veteran to play as a batsman only in the Twenty20 match to replace Justin Kemp.

All-rounder Kemp had been picked to play as a batsman only at Wanderers Stadium due to his ongoing shoulder complaint.

But Smith said Kemp would be rested until Sunday.

"Kemp's out. He'll be ready for Sunday. He needs an operation so it's about us making five games," said Smith, with Kemp likely to have surgery after the one-day series finishes on March 12.

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