Ponting backs Symonds to deliver in third Test
by CricketArchive staff reporter
DateLine: 13th December 2006
Australian captain Ricky Ponting has backed Andrew Symonds to deliver
in the third Ashes Test at the WACA Ground after his surprise Test
recall was confirmed Wednesday.
Speaking after his side's final training session for the third Test,
which starts Thursday, Ponting confirmed that Symonds had been chosen
ahead of local batsman Adam Voges for the match in which Australia can
regain the Ashes from England.
The Australian skipper has long been a Symonds supporter and it was on
his recommendation that the explosive Queenslander was a surprise
inclusion in the 1999 World Cup, which launched his successful one-day
It will be Symonds' first Test since playing against South Africa in
Johannesburg in April and comes at a time when many, including the man
himself, believed his Test career was over after 10 modest Tests for a
batting average of 19 and bowling average of 45. Although he is
probably just keeping the spot warm for fellow Queensland all-rounder
Shane Watson, Ponting again backed Symonds to perform.
"I am pretty confident in him actually," Ponting said. "I have watched
him pretty closely over the last few days. He might have thought his
Test career has passed him on, but he is really excited about being
back in the team again and right now he feels better about his game
than he probably ever has before. We all know what a great talent he is
and he hasn't shown it at Test level yet, hopefully over the next few
days we will see some of that."
Ponting said Symonds was a wiser player for his previous omissions.
Symonds bowled both spin and medium pace with success at the WACA
earlier in the season for Queensland and Ponting said the likely nature
of the Test pitch, which he expects to have bounce but be a little slow
and two-paced, would suit his bowling.
"He was the pick of the bowlers on a wicket that might have been pretty
similar," Ponting said. "It will give Shane (Warne) a chance to have a
bit more of a rest, and probably Glenn (McGrath) at different times. We
are going to need some guys to bowl a number of overs up into the wind
and Symo will probably give us that."
With Damien Martyn's retirement, Mike Hussey goes up one position to
While the Australians made just the one change, the controversial
England selection committee will wait until the morning of the match to
name a side.
Down 2-0 and on the verge of Ashes failure, there is no margin for
error for England and plenty for the committee of captain Andrew
Flintoff, coach Duncan Fletcher and a handful of senior players to
Flintoff and Fletcher have copped plenty of criticism for the teams
they have chosen for the first two Test defeats and the English must
get their bowling line-up correct.
Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar appears certain to be promoted, but
Ashley Giles could retain his berth if the English play two spinners.
Speedsters Steve Harmison and James Anderson failed to fire in the
first two Tests, with Sajid Mahmood pushing for inclusion and also
offering extra batting depth.
England will also consider whether to retain Geraint Jones behind the
stumps ahead of Chris Read.
It could be a big match for the home side in more ways than one, as
Warne needs just six more victims to become the first Test bowler to
claim 700 wickets.
The teams: Australia - Ricky Ponting (capt), Matthew Hayden, Justin
Langer, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane
Warne, Glenn McGrath, Stuart Clark, Andrew Symonds and Mitchell Johnson
England (from) - Andrew Flintoff (capt), Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook,
Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Geraint Jones, Chris Read, Sajid Mahmood,
Monty Panesar, Ashley Giles, Steve Harmison, Ed Joyce, James Anderson,
Matthew Hoggard, Kevin Pietersen and Liam Plunkett.
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and Rudi Koertzen (RSA). Match referee: Jeff