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Ponting ready for triangular opener

January 08, 2004 20:17 IST
Last Updated: January 08, 2004 20:34 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting is confident of playing in the opening match of the limited overs triangular series against India and Zimbabwe despite missing most of the training session.

Ponting also spent most of yesterday in bed with a stomach virus but still thought he would be fit for the series opener against India in Melbourne.

"(I) probably won't do too much training today, just try and recover as well as I can and make sure I'm right for tomorrow morning but I should be right," Ponting said.

He said Australia would have to improve their fielding to have any hope of containing a rampant India batting line-up. India retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy this week after drawing the four-Test series 1-1.

"I think we put down 15 chances in that Test series which, you never know, could have been the difference between winning and losing some of those games," Ponting said.

"It's disappointing, we haven't fielded that way for a long time and over the last four or five years we've been regarded as the best fielding side in the world, so hopefully we can get that back during the one-day series," he said.

Australia's depleted bowling stocks suffered another blow when left-armer Nathan Bracken was ruled out of the match with a hip injury.

Bracken, 26, strained a muscle in his left hip while fielding during the drawn fourth Test against India.

Western Australia paceman Brad Williams will replace Bracken in Australia's 13-man squad for their opening four matches. Williams rolled his ankle at training but was later able to resume bowling in the nets.


Pacemen Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie are in the squad after missing part of the Test series against India through injury but leading fast bowler Glenn McGrath did not play in the series and is still recovering from ankle surgery.

Australia are also without leading wicket-taker Shane Warne while the leg spinner sees out the end of the 12-month doping ban he was handed in February 2003.

Wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist said he is looking forward to opening the batting for Australia again after a disappointing Test series against India.

Vice-captain Gilchrist, who bats at number seven in Australia's Test side, averaged just 16 in the four-Test series against India which ended with the drawn fourth Test in Sydney.

"Through no one's fault but my own I didn't have a long hit during the Test series, so I've got the opportunity now at the top of the order to get out there and just start afresh," Gilchrist said.

"It's hard to know how I'm hitting the ball at the moment. I don't know if I'm in form or out of form but there's one way to find out," he said.

Gilchrist denied his form had been affected by a virus he contracted before the first Test but said he was tired after the gripping series against India, which was dominated by the retirement of Test captain Steve Waugh.

"Like everyone, I'm a little bit weary from the intensity of that Test series," Gilchrist said. "We spent a lot of time in the field, the Indians batted beautifully so I'm a little bit weary like everyone else," he said.


Australia - Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel, Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Ian Harvey, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Brad Williams.

India - Sourav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Vangipurappu Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Rohan Gavaskar, Parthiv Patel, Ajit Agarkar, Murali Kartik, Anil Kumble, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, Hemang Badani, Lakshmipathi Balaji, Sanjay Bangar.

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