|Player:||RT Ponting, A Symonds|
|Event:||England in Australia 2006/07|
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 career. 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 No.4. 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 ponder. 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 (12th man). 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 Crowe (NZ).
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