Ponting's fitness in doubt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting's fitness in doubt

By Michael Crutcher 09/05/2003 05:50:57 AM Comments (0)

Australian vice-captain Ricky Ponting is struggling to be fit for the final Test against the West Indies in Antigua.

Ponting has a virus and temperature and woke feeling worse on Thursday, leaving some doubt whether he would be ready for the match at the Recreation Ground.

The Tasmanian had been expected to play on Wednesday despite feeling unwell since missing Monday's final day of the third Test victory in Bridgetown.

Team officials said Ponting would continue to be assessed, and were hopeful he would play on Friday (midnight AEST) before leading Australia in a seven-match one-day series, beginning in Jamaica next Saturday.

The Windies would be relieved not to see Ponting at the crease after he scored 523 runs, including three centuries, in Australia's opening three wins.

Queenslander Martin Love would be expected to replace Ponting at No.3 after missing selection in the opening Tests when Australia decided to play five bowlers.

Apart from Ponting's health, Australian selectors were expected to stick with the same team which defeated the Windies by nine wickets in Barbados.

Glenn McGrath was expected to lead a five-man attack, including four quicks and spinner Stuart MacGill, but wrist-spinner Brad Hogg remains a chance to be recalled.

"If the pitch is really dry and cracked up then we might consider going back to two spinners, but I think the combination of the five bowlers is right over here," Australian captain Steve Waugh said.

"That's not to say that's going to be long-term. It's that I think we've got enough batters to counteract their bowlers, and the pitches have been so flat that we've needed five bowlers, so it's worked out well.

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