Ponting bullish of playing second Test

Published: Friday, September 24, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Injured Australian captain Ricky Ponting said he was still hopeful of playing in the second cricket Test against India in Madras next month.

Ponting arrived here early Friday for treatment on a broken left thumb suffered while fielding in Australia's six-wicket loss to England in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

He will miss at least the first Test, which starts in Bangalore on October 6, but said he had no guarantee of being right to play the second Test which follows only four days after the first Test. "It couldn't have come at a much worse time. It capped off a pretty ordinary day for us all round the other day," Ponting said at Sydney Airport.

"We've been looking forward to the Indian tour for a long time, and for me personally, being captain of the side also not having made many runs on the last tour, I was pretty keen to get there and play well."

Ponting said he would be visiting a hand specialist later Friday to learn more about the extent of the injury. "It looks like I'm not going to be there for the first Test, hopefully I can make it there for the second Test and won't miss too much of the action," he said.

Uncapped batsman Brad Hodge will replace Ponting in the 16-man Australian cricket squad for the India tour while a decision is made on the skipper's availability. It was the first time Hodge, 29, has been named in an Australian touring party.

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