Ponting faces selection dilemmas - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting faces selection dilemmas

By Michael Donaldson 08/03/2004 05:57:56 AM Comments (0)

Ricky Ponting's first cricket Test as captain of Australia takes place against a complex backdrop of selection dilemmas, the drama of Shane Warne's return from a doping ban, hints of old-fashioned pitch-doctoring and the likely absence of pace spearhead Brett Lee.

But the result could rest on something as simple as the toss of a coin.

Lee missed training over the weekend after his ankle injury failed to recover and it's now extremely unlikely he'll play in the first Test.

Ponting said a final decision on Lee's fitness would be made nearer the time.

"We have to give him as much time as we can because he's such a vital member of the side and it will probably be tomorrow morning before we name our side," said Ponting, who'll be hoping his bad luck doesn't extend to the toss.

Ponting's first coin toss as captain couldn't be more vital after Sri Lankan officials presented a Galle pitch so spin-friendly the home side is thinking of opening the bowling with a spinner.

Sri Lankan captain Hashan Tillakaratne said Chaminda Vaas was likely to carry the burden of being the only quick bowler in his side.

"We haven't picked our 11 yet but most probably we'll go in with one fast bowler," said Tillakaratne, who will be hoping strike bowler Muttiah Muralitharan will continue his incredible strike-rate of eight wickets per Test here.

That came as no surprise to Ponting.

"We've pretty much expected them to go that way for the past week and half ... even the fact they went into a couple of one-dayers with only one quickie was a bit of an indication they might be thinking about doing that down here.

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